Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - Preston Knowles made six of Louisville's 11 three-pointers en route to a 24-point effort, as the 20th-ranked Cardinals bounced back from their first loss of the season with a 78-49 drubbing of Gardner-Webb.
Knowles also grabbed nine rebounds for Louisville (9-1), which lost a surprising 52-46 home decision to Drexel on Tuesday.
The Cardinals shot 50.8 percent from the floor and held the Runnin' Bulldogs to 31.6 percent shooting to avoid another letdown. Gorgui Dieng spearheaded the defensive showing with seven blocks to go along with eight points and 11 boards.
"We're trying to get what we call hustle points," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "If you get 30, you're doing a real good job. We got 40, which is very good. We got out on the break 31 times, because we did not give up a lot of offensive rebounds and that was good. We had 46 deflections which is good."
Gardner-Webb (6-8), playing its 10th straight game away from home and without leading scorer Jon Moore, was led by Laron Buggs' 16 points.
"We didn't defend in transition well, but give them credit they push it on makes and misses," Gardner-Webb coach Chris Holtmann said. "They had us on our heels a little bit. The thing we wanted to try and eliminate is something called pick 6's where we were giving the ball at half court and they get dead layups or dunks. For the most part, we were able to minimize those opportunities but they got us in the open floor off of our makes and our misses."
Stefon Johnson's layup at the 15:13 mark of the first half had Gardner-Webb within a basket, 9-7.
The Bulldogs went the next nine-plus minutes without scoring, and Louisville's subsequent 20-0 run gave the hosts plenty of breathing room.
Terrence Jennings scored six on the spurt, and his dunk yielded a 29-7 cushion with 6 1/2 minutes left in the opening stanza.
David Brown hit a pair of three-pointers in the final two minutes and Johnson ended the half with a dunk to cut Gardner-Webb's deficit to 39-25 at the intermission.
Still, the margin was double digits the entire second half.
Knowles drained a three to push the difference back to 20 less than six minutes in, and Mike Marra added another one from long range a little later for an insurmountable 55-32 edge with 12 1/2 minutes on the clock.
Moore is sidelined indefinitely due to an undisclosed injury that required surgery earlier this week...Marra added 10 points for the Cardinals, who had 12 different players score...The Bulldogs, losers of four straight, got 10 points from Johnson...Louisville heads out for its first road test on Wednesday against Western Kentucky...Gardner-Webb next battles Liberty, finally at one its home floor, on New Year's Eve.
12/18 19:26:23 ET