Louisville Dominates Iona, 67-36

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Terrence Williams scored a season-high 22 points and had five rebounds as Louisville spoiled former assistant coach Kevin Willard's return to Freedom Hall on Saturday, beating Iona 67-36.

Derrick Caracter added 13 points and 11 rebounds as the Cardinals (9-3) won their fourth straight while holding an opponent to their fewest points in the Rick Pitino era.

Willard spent the last decade working for Pitino, including the last six years at Louisville. Pitino presented Willard, in his first year as head coach of the Gaels, with a watch before tipoff as a token of appreciation as the crowd gave Willard a loud ovation.

Louisville's hospitality, however, ended there.

The Cardinals held Iona (5-8) to 19 percent shooting and dominated in the paint. Louisville had a 45-39 advantage on the boards and blocked 13 shots.

The Cardinals had been worried about how it would combat playing against Willard, who recruited most of the current team and has installed much of Pitino's system with the Gaels.

Ultimately, it didn't matter. Playing with the kind of precision it has lacked through much of the season, the Cardinals pulled away with a 15-3 run at the start of the second half that put them up 43-19.

Williams hit a pair of 3-pointers during the run and Caracter scored six while playing his best game of the season. The Gaels never got closer than 21 the rest of the way.

Iona came into the game shooting nearly 49 percent from the field on the season, but went through two long scoreless stretches in the first half. The Cardinals held the Gaels scoreless for more than eight minutes in the first half as Louisville built a 28-16 lead.

The Cardinals mixed it upon defense, switching frequently from zone to man-to-man while pressing occasionally.

Gary Springer led Iona with nine points, but the Gaels simply couldn't get anything going offensively. Though they managed to get open looks when Louisville went to zone, the shots didn't fall.

Iona had won five of its last six after a slow start, and Willard was actually undefeated at Freedom Hall as a head coach. He subbed for Pitino for one game during the 2003-04 season after Pitino excused himself because of an unspecified health scare.

Pitino is now 2-0 against former assistants this season. Louisville beat New Mexico State and coach Marvin Menzies last week. Pitino will take on another former assistant on Tuesday when the Cardinals open Big East play against Mick Cronin and Cincinnati.

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