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Louisville clamps down on San Francisco

Dec 9, 2010 - 7:36 AM Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - Peyton Siva and Terrence Jennings each scored 14 points, helping 24th-ranked Louisville to a 61-35 win over San Francisco.

Jennings also grabbed nine rebounds while Chris Smith added 11 points for Louisville (7-0), which made only 10 of its 36 three-point attempts and shot 36 percent overall. However, that was enough to beat a San Francisco (3-5) team that turned the ball over 16 times and shot 31 percent.

Still, the Cardinals struggled in the first half before eventually pulling away -- something they likely won't be able to do in Saturday's matchup with No. 20 UNLV.

An improved performance by Mike Marra would help Louisville. Marra entered Wednesday's contest averaging a team-best 13 points per game, but finished with three on 1-of-10 shooting.

Michael Williams totaled 14 points for the Dons, who posted a season low in points.

"We spent so much energy defending so many players and drivers, their athleticism ... we just couldn't get going offensively," said San Francisco head coach Rex Walters. "Tired legs equal bad shots."

Marra's three-pointer gave Louisville a 12-2 lead, forcing San Francisco to play catch up right away, and the Cardinals were still up by double digits when Preston Knowles drilled a trey for a 20-8 lead just before the half's midway point.

But the Cardinals continued to opt for long-range shots and couldn't sustain their scoring pace. They went cold, allowing the Dons to go on a 16-4 run and tie the game.

Williams hit a jumper before ending the run with a three-pointer with 1:03 to play. Only a Siva free throw allowed Louisville to lead, 25-24, at the break.

Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino said two of his team's biggest mistakes in the first half were opting to shoot an NBA-length three and taking the first open shot.

"What happens when you take the first shot available is you don't get the offensive rebounders into play and you don't get any player movement," Pitino said. "Just because a guy is open doesn't mean you should shoot it. In the second half, we created good ball movement and good player movement and look what happened -- we got offensive rebounds."

The Cardinals pulled away early in the second half by scoring 16 consecutive points and holding the Dons' offense in check with a press. Jennings ended the run with a three-point play, making it a 44-26 game with 11:53 to play, and Louisville led by a sizeable margin the rest of the way.

Game Notes

The Cardinals held a 21-0 advantage in points off turnovers. Louisville turned the ball over only five times...Rakeem Buckles grabbed a game-high 10 boards for Louisville, while Knowles scored 10 points...The teams combined to make 12-of-27 free throws.