TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Rick Pitino was apologetic.
Louisville (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 10 AP) caught South Florida shorthanded Saturday and
no matter who the coach put on the floor, the Cardinals kept
scoring and playing stifling defense in an 85-40 Conference USA
"It is frustrating," said Pitino, recalling that he's been on
the other side of some lopsided scores in his career.
"There's not much you can do because the subs I'm putting in
the game on our basketball team, with the exception of maybe the
top two guys, are just as good as the guys on the court."
Taquan Dean scored 16 points and Francisco Garcia had 15 to pace
a balanced attack and lead Louisville (11-1, 2-0) to its 11th
straight victory. The Cardinals have won their first two conference
games by an average of 39.5 points and haven't lost since dropping
their season opener by one point to Iowa in overtime.
"Louisville is an outstanding team. We knew that," said Robert
McCullum, South Florida's first-year coach.
"Not only are they an outstanding team, but they're playing
extremely well. Often times, you run into a team, and although
they're very talented and deep and have all of the ingredients that
Louisville has, they might not be playing particularly well at that
South Florida (6-6, 0-1) played without guard Marlyn Bryant, who
suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice this week, and
narrowly missed setting school records for largest margin of defeat
and fewest points in a game.
The Bulls shot just 26.5 percent from the field and turned the
ball over 22 times. Jimmy Baxter's 3-pointer in the final minute
ensured his team would finish with more than the 36 points South
Florida scored in a 35-point loss to Marquette in February 1997.
"I think we played as bad basketball as I've seen at South
Florida," said Baxter, a senior. "Coach McCullum couldn't have
prepared us any better than he did for this, and we just flat out
Pitino said Louisville simply had too much firepower.
"The worst type of team to play when you're shorthanded is a
team that plays 11 people and is deep and presses. So we weren't
the ideal opponent for a team that has injuries and is banged up,"
Pitino said. "Nevertheless, our guys played great defense."
Louisville held Southern Mississippi scoreless for nearly 13
minutes during a 34-point blowout in its C-USA opener. The
Cardinals were just as impressive this time, forcing 15 turnovers
in the first half and using an 18-0 run over a 7-minute stretch to
build a 20-point lead.
South Florida, playing its conference opener after an 11-day
layoff, missed 15 of it first 20 shots and trailed 40-15 before
Louisville began the second half with a 20-4 run that put the
Cardinals up 60-19 with just under 16 minutes to go.
The Bulls lost to Syracuse by 46 points in December 1987.
Bradley Mosley's free throws in the closing seconds enabled South
Florida to avoid that mark.
Mosley led South Florida with eight points on 2-for-10 shooting.
Baxter and Brian Swift each scored seven.
Louisville shot 51 percent (31-for-61) and made 10 3-pointers.
Dean and O'Bannon were both 4-for-5 from behind the arc.
"It's just one game in the conference. We can't hang our hats
on one game," Baxter said. "We've got more Conference USA teams
coming up. If we hang our hats on this one game, we might as well
go back and play high school basketball."