Fair Dickinson 66

(5-6, 2-0 NEC)

(10) Louisville 89

(10-1, 10-0 home)

    7:05 PM ET, December 28, 2005

    1 2 T
    FDU 20 4666
    #10LOU 37 5289

    Top Performers

    Fairleigh Dickinson: A. Crosariol 21 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Blk

    Louisville: D. Padgett 16 Pts, 7 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Stl, 3 Blk

    Cardinals remain unbeaten with win over Knights

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Rick Pitino has spent the last two months reminding his Louisville players of the challenge awaiting them in the Big East Conference once the calendar flips to January.

    Finally it seems, the Cardinals are listening.

    Taquan Dean scored 19 points, leading four Louisville players in double figures as the 10th-ranked Cardinals put together their best game of the season in an 89-66 win over Fairleigh Dickinson Wednesday night.

    "They know who is around the corner," Pitino said. "We played with unbelievable effort. This is the hardest that we've played."

    The Cardinals (10-1) haven't exactly looked dominant during their early nonconference schedule, struggling to beat overmatched teams in nine December home games.

    Against the Knights (5-6), Louisville put together the kind of complete performance Pitino knows his club will need heading to Miami on Saturday before hosting No. 3 Villanova in the first Big East game in school history.

    "The real college basketball is right ahead of us," Dean said.

    Brandon Jenkins scored 17 points, David Padgett added 16 points and seven rebounds and Juan Palacios 13 points and seven boards as the Cardinals shared the ball (21 assists) and took control midway through the first half with the kind of frenetic play that's become Pitino's hallmark.

    "Everybody was loose, focused, nobody got sidetracked," Dean said. "Coach stressed to get out on the fast break more and put more pressure on the ball and we forced some early turnovers and got easy baskets."

    Andrea Crosariol led Fairleigh Dickinson (5-6) with 21 points, but the visitors from the Northeast Conference simply could not keep up with the Cardinals.

    For the first time all season, the Cardinals went to full-court pressure extensively and used it to score 32 points on 22 turnovers by Fairleigh Dickinson.

    "Their pressure got to us," FDU coach Tom Green said. "They didn't do anything we didn't expect ... really there was just too much talent for us tonight."

    The Cardinals outrebounded the Knights 45-36, had 14 steals and pushed the tempo with ease.

    "It was a fun game to play," Padgett said. "From here on out every game is going to be a war."

    The Cardinals opened the game with the same sluggishness that plagued them early in the season. Louisville turned the ball over nine times in the first 9 minutes, many of the them unforced miscues.

    Still, the Cardinals were hardly challenged. Louisville's defense played as well while its offense was struggling, holding the Knights to 29 percent shooting in the first half as the Cardinals built a 37-20 lead at the break.

    "The first half, our defense was great, we did everything coach wanted us to do," Jenkins said. "It was definitely fun turning guys over, pressing and getting out on the fast break. It's the way coach wanted us to play. Now we just have to go out and get better."

    Dean shot below 50 percent from the floor for the 10th time in 11 games (5-of-12) but played with the kind of patience and confidence that makes Pitino optimistic the slump is almost over.

    "Taquan let the game come to him tonight and he didn't rush it," Pitino said. "He has to learn to trust his teammates."

    Louisville's lead grew to 29 points midway through the second half, as the Cardinals ran the floor and made the extra pass. It wasn't perfect, but after slogging their way through much of December, Pitino will take it.

    "We are nowhere near where we need to be, or where we were last year," Pitino said. "But our effort level is where we need it to be."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 66 89
    FG Made-Attempted 27-65 (.415) 30-70 (.429)
    3P Made-Attempted 2-13 (.154) 11-26 (.423)
    FT Made-Attempted 10-14 (.714) 18-25 (.720)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 16 (0/0) 17 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 0 29

    2005-06 Season

    » Dec 28, 2005 @LOU 89, FDU 66Recap