11th Ranked Cardinals pounce on Indiana State after tough week of practice

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- An upset loss to Western Kentucky robbed Louisville of some of its swagger.

On Saturday, the 11th-ranked Cardinals took their first steps toward getting it back.

Playing with the kind of urgency it lacked against the Hilltoppers last weekend, Louisville rolled by Indiana State 83-43 in the opening game of the Marques Maybin Classic.

"Coach [Rick Pitino] tells us he's still mad at us every day," guard Edgar Sosa said. "Western Kentucky took something away from us. We've got to play hard and get back to where we want to be."

The Cardinals (3-1) let out a week's worth of frustration on the overmatched Sycamores (0-6). Louisville dominated from the opening tip, needing less than five minutes to build a double-digit lead before rolling to its most lopsided win of the season.

Earl Clark led Louisville with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Terrence Williams added 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

"When you come off a loss, everybody is hungrier," Williams said. "Everybody wants a steal. Everybody wants to do their job. Everybody came out pumped up."

The Cardinals didn't have much choice after a brutal week of practice. Pitino threw assistant coach Walter McCarty -- a 10-year NBA veteran -- onto the practice court in an effort to get the attention of his starters.

It worked. Louisville held Indiana State to 28 percent shooting, forced 23 turnovers and blocked 11 shots.

"We did it with our pressure, halfcourt and fullcourt," Pitino said. "Indiana State isn't that bad."

Maybe, but the Sycamores sure looked it during the first half. Louisville scored the game's first seven points and led 21-3 just less than seven minutes in. Indiana State could do little to stem the tide against the bigger, faster Cardinals.

Louisville's length forced the Sycamores into tough shots and its pressure forced them into sloppy mistakes. The Cardinals had 32 points off turnovers and a 40-18 advantage on points in the paint.

"I thought we played on our heels a lot and we played without confidence," Indiana State coach Kevin McKenna said. "They stretched it early and turned up the heat and got more aggressive. That is what good pressing teams do."

Brant Leitnaker and Jay Tunnell both had nine points for Indiana State, one of 16 Division I teams that entered the day looking for its first win of the season. The Sycamores had been a tough out during their first five games, losing by an average of 6.1 points, including a five-point loss at DePaul last week and a two-point defeat to Arkansas State on Monday.

Things were never that close against the Cardinals, who were humbled by the Hilltoppers six days ago after what Pitino called the poorest week of practice he's ever seen.

The 68-54 loss sent Louisville tumbling out of the top 10 and Pitino spent all week reminding the Cardinals of everything they didn't do well against Western Kentucky. He laid part of the blame on his team's overinflated ego, saying the Cardinals were a little too "me first" instead of "team first."

Whatever message he sent during a sometimes torturous week of practice was received. With the always vocal Williams challenging his teammates to share the ball and help on defense, Louisville raced to a 25-5 lead.

Even freshman Samardo Samuels, who is still trying to learn the intricacies of Louisville's offense, got in on the act. He started one fast break by stepping in front of a pass at midcourt and feeding it to Williams for a layup.

Williams pointed at his teammate as he ran back down the court, yelling "That's you son," as the Cardinals raced back down the floor.

Louisville led 50-17 at halftime and Pitino went deep into the bench in the second half. All 13 players who suited up found their way into the game as Pitino tinkered with his lineup.

"I am real pleased," Pitino said. "But we still have a long way to go."

The three-day round-robin is named after Maybin, Louisville's 13th all-time leading scorer who was paralyzed below the waist in a motorcycle accident in 2003. Maybin received a standing ovation when introduced during the second half. It was the biggest rise the crowd would get during an anticlimactic final 20 minutes.

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