Men's Hoops Falls To No. 15 Louisville, 87-74
By JOSHUA HAMMANN
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Louisville coach Rick Pitino has the No. 15 Cardinals on top of the Conference USA standings even though it hasn't been an easy week for his team.
Marvin Stone had 22 points and eight rebounds as Louisville won its 11th straight game with an 87-74 victory over TCU on Saturday. The Cardinals are now 4-0 in conference play.
Pitino said he was angry with the conference schedulers, who put the Cardinals at East Carolina for a 9 p.m. tipoff Thursday night before Saturday's noon game in Freedom Hall.
"We came off our best game and we didn't play that great today and that's because of the short turnaround we had," Pitino said.
Reece Gaines added 20 points and eight assists, but also had six turnovers as the Cardinals (12-1) looked a bit sloppy after a late Thursday game at East Carolina. Louisville turned it over 23 times.
"We would have had much better day offensively if we didn't turn the ball over so much," Pitino said.
Louisville and TCU (6-9) - teams known for their fast-paced pressure defense styles - combined for 47 turnovers.
"His (Pitino's) team defensively is what every coach is trying to get to," TCU coach Neil Dougherty said.
The Cardinals led comfortably throughout the second half. TCU closed the gap to 79-65 on a Junior Blount 3-pointer with under five minutes to go. But Erik Brown answered with a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to put the lead back at 17.
The Cardinals led 65-41 with 15 minutes left in the game. During an 11-4 spurt over the first five minutes of the second half, Stone and Ellis Myles combined for seven points, while TCU turned it over on four straight possessions. Myles finished with seven points and four rebounds.
Louisville is off to its best start since the 1996-97 season.
Despite falling behind early in its first three conference games, TCU stayed close through the opening minutes of a sloppy first half by both teams.
The Horned Frogs pulled within 25-21 on a Santee jumper with seven minutes left in the first half. But the Cardinals went on a 19-10 run capped by a Luke Whitehead jumper with less than two minutes remaining in the half.
The Horned Frogs kept pace with Louisville's six first-half 3-pointers by getting to the line. Almost half of TCU's first-half points came from the free-throw line, where the two teams combined to shoot 31 first-half free throws.
"It's a good win for us and we're happy to get through this game because of the preparation time we had," Pitino said.