Louisville advances to Big East semis

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 08, 2012
Louisville_v_kentucky_a7ae
Kyle Kuric scored 20 points, Peyton Siva added 18 and Louisville forced No. 9 Marquette into a season-high 26 turnovers, advancing to the Big East tournament semifinals with an 84-71 victory Thursday night. Wearing a new set of bright orange, neon-looking uniforms, the seventh-seeded Cardinals flashed their quick hands all over the court and held Big East Player of the Year Jae Crowder to 10 points in 31 foul-plagued minutes. Russ Smith and Chane Behanan each scored 12 points for Louisville (24-9), which plays No. 23 Notre Dame or South Florida on Friday night. Darius Johnson-Odom had 23 points to pace No. 2 seed Marquette (25-7), blown out by Louisville in the quarterfinals last year as well. The Golden Eagles have never made it past the tournament semifinals since joining the Big East for the 2005-06 season. Siva had another outstanding all-around game at point guard, piling up eight rebounds, six assists and four steals. He had 14 points and six steals in a 61-55 victory over Seton Hall on Wednesday night. Smith also was a pest in this one, snatching five of Louisville's 14 steals. The 26 turnovers by Marquette, which averaged only 12.8 all season, were one shy of the Big East tournament record. The Golden Eagles' previous high this season was 17. Marquette overcame an 18-2 deficit at home to beat Louisville in their only other meeting this season, and the Golden Eagles fell behind early again. This time, Louisville's swarming defense was too much to overcome. The Cardinals, who lost to Connecticut in last year's title game, scored 50 points in the first half - their biggest outburst in a half this season. They finished with 23 points off turnovers. Jared Swopshire had eight points and 12 rebounds off the bench for Louisville, which held Marquette to 2-for-13 shooting from 3-point range in a game that had a much faster pace than most in this week's tournament at Madison Square Garden. Just like their previous meeting, Louisville jumped on the Golden Eagles from the opening tip. The Cardinals forced nine turnovers in the first 10:14 and opened a 15-point lead on Behanan's jumper just more than 6 minutes into the game. But then Louisville big man Gorgui Dieng was hit with a technical for protesting a foul call. He went to the bench with three fouls at the 8:15 mark and Rick Pitino shouted up at the 6-foot-10 center from Senegal, who put his hand on the coach's shoulder. Marquette trailed 30-19 when Dieng took a seat but trimmed it to 34-33 on Jamil Wilson's putback with 3:57 left in the half. Kuric's 3-pointer started a 16-7 run that sent the Cardinals into halftime with a 50-40 advantage. Dieng checked back in with 14:01 remaining and finished with eight points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. Kuric also had three blocks.
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