for this game

Williams, Louisville dominate Marquette

Jan 18, 2008 - 5:48 AM LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (Ticker) -- Now fully healthy, Louisville is beginning to assert itself as a Big East power.

Terence Williams scored 20 points and David Padgett added 17 off the bench as the Cardinals jumped out early and cruised to a 71-51 win over 13th-ranked Marquette in a Big East Conference matchup Wednesday night.

Derrick Caracter added 11 points and Edgar Sosa chipped in nine for Louisville (13-4, 3-1 Big East), which has won three in a row in conference play by an average of more than 15 points.

Padgett, who missed 10 games earlier in the season with a knee injury, shot 8-of-9 from the floor in his fifth game back. Juan Palacios, who missed the first nine games of the season with a knee injury, made his presence felt on the defensive end, hounding the Golden Eagles on the perimeter.

"Well, defense is what wins," Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said. "We can't play racehorse basketball anymore because we're coming off injuries, but we do want to run. We want to be smart when we run and the more Edgar Sosa plays like tonight, the more we're capable of running.

"But with the frontcourt like we have, you really want to work inside to out and make sure they touch the ball. So, I though David (Padgett) was terrific. I thought all the guys played well tonight. Their focus was unbelievable tonight. I'm real proud of that."

Louisville added injury to insult for Marquette (13-3, 3-2) with 6:07 left in the second half when point guard Dominic James crashed hard to the floor after attempting a reverse layup. The junior, who averages 14.9 points per game, stayed on the ground clutching his right wrist for several moments and did not return to the game.

"Not sure yet," Marquette coach Tom Crean said of James' injury status. "He couldn't have gone back into the game. We'll talk about it when we get on the plane, where we go next with the injury. It's probably just a re-aggravation of his injury from last week. He's been playing through that, and doing an excellent job. He just landed on it wrong. It was a tough play in the lane."

"I've said many times that he's my favorite player in college basketball - besides the guys on my team," Pitino said of James. "He's my favorite guy because he disrupts everything. He's a terrific player, he had an off night tonight. Every great player has an off night."

Jerel McNeal scored 16 points to lead Marquette, which finished 0-of-12 from the arc - the first time the school had failed to hit a 3-pointer since December 23, 2000.

The Cardinals smothered the Golden Eagles in the first half, holding them to just 8-of-29 shooting. Marquette did not connect on its third field goal of the half until 7:45 remained.

"Any time you settle of mid-range jump shots - which is what we did in the first half," Crean said. "The foul line shot is open for a reason. It doesn't matter if you're in a man-to-man or a zone. And anytime you're playing against a tough defense, you can't settle for jump shots.

Louisville, which pulled down 24 rebounds in the first 20 minutes, held a 27-19 advantage at the half.

The second half was no different, as the Golden Eagles shot just 9-for-25. Williams scored 15 points after the break, going 5-of-6 from the floor with a pair of 3-pointers.

The Cardinals shot 62 percent (13-of-21) in the second half.

"This was a great win for us," Pitino said. "Our respect level for Marquette and the way we prepared - that's the best attention span I've seen in our guys in a long time. We're in double sessions and they have so much respect for Marquette that they really tuned in, especially at the offensive end."