Men's College Basketball
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Smith helps Louisville cruise past Marquette

Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - Russ Smith scored a game-high 18 points and pulled down five rebounds, and Peyton Siva donated 14 points and seven assists as 12th-ranked Louisville overcame a slow start to take down No. 25 Marquette, 70-51.

Wayne Blackshear and Gorgui Dieng scored nine and eight points, respectively, while Dieng also grabbed eight boards for the Cardinals (18-4, 6-3 Big East), who have won two straight following a three-game losing streak and then-No. 1 ranking just two weeks ago.

"This is a tough group to get to focus in," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "They are a very young group. By young, I mean they act young. The good thing about acting young is the three game losing streak doesn't bother them; being number one doesn't bother them. They are a silly group and always goofing around. They don't get nervous, they just go play and tonight they put it all together."

Vander Blue registered 17 points and five rebounds, and Trent Lockett donated 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field for the Golden Eagles (15-5, 6-2), who fell for just the second time in the team's last 10 contests.

The start of the game couldn't have been worse for the home team, as Louisville went 0-for-8 and trailed, 9-1, after Blue's jumper just over four minutes in.

In fact, Marquette controlled the tempo of the contest for the majority of the first half until Blackshear's dunk with 8:28 before the break tied things up at 18-18. The game quickly changed from there.

The dunk ignited the Cardinals to go on a 20-6 run to close to half and go up comfortably, 38-24. Siva accounted for nine points alone during the critical flurry which set the tone for the second half.

Luke Hancock nailed back-to-back treys just over six minutes into the second stanza, extending Louisville's advantage to 53-30. The Cardinals never let the visitors get closer than 15 points or gain any momentum or breathing room from there, and they eased to the victory in the second half.

Much of Louisville's success resulted in superb play down low, as the Cardinals outscored the Golden Eagles, 42-20, in the paint. The home team also held an advantage in capitalizing on turnovers, as Louisville scored 32 points off 17 Marquette turnovers, despite giving the ball away itself 16 times for just nine Marquette points.

"I think you have to beat Louisville twice," Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. "You have to beat them in the front court. Then you have to beat them in the backcourt. The backcourt is really more from half court to the free throw line. So, going into today, one out of every three points that they scored, were based off turnovers. They rebounded 42 percent of their missed shots. Those two numbers combined are outstanding."

Game Notes

Marquette has now dropped four of five road games this season ... Louisville owns a 42-26 series advantage over Marquette and the Cardinals have won eight of the last 10 meetings overall ... Marquette shot 35.8 percent (19-of-53) from the floor ... Louisville travels to Rutgers and Notre Dame this week ... The Golden Eagles head to South Florida on Feb. 6.

02/03 18:10:37 ET