LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY (TICKER) —Mike Davis’ latest visit to Freedom Hall was nearly as unpleasant as his last one.
Freshman Francisco Garcia scored a season-high 23 points as eighth-ranked Louisville scored the final 17 points and ran its winning streak to 16 games with a 95-76 victory over Davis and No. 20 Indiana.
Davis ran onto the floor and was ejected in a 70-64 loss to Kentucky here on December 21. The Indiana coach stuck around for the end of this one, but saw Indiana (14-6) blow a 16-point lead and lose its third straight.
“They make you play their style of basketball,” Davis said. “It’s not conditioning - it’s us trying to play their game. Who’s going to win that up and down kind of game? They are.”
Reece Gaines added 10 of his 17 points in the second half for Louisville, which is on its longest winning streak since winning the final 17 games of the 1985-86 national championship season.
A 3-pointer by Garcia gave Louisville (16-1) its first lead of the second half at 57-56 with just over 12 minutes left. The Cardinals took the lead for good on Kendall Dartez’s layup that snapped a 70-70 tie with just over seven minutes remaining.
Hoosiers freshman Bracey Wright split a pair of foul shots that pulled Indiana within 78-76 with 3:37 to go before Louisville’s decisive closing run.
“Unbelievable heart showed by both teams,” Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. “In the first half, we let our lack of offensive proficiency affect us. We flat got after it in the second half.”
Freshman Taquan Dean sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around one by Garcia to trigger the burst. Indiana dominated play in the first half and took a 40-24 advantage on two free throws by Mike Roberts with 5:39 left before halftime.
The Cardinals trimmed the deficit in half with an 11-3 run to get within 43-35 at intermission.
Garcia came off the bench to make 8-of-13 shots, including a pair of 3-pointers. Ellis Myles scored 13 points and Gaines led all players with six assists.
“(Television commentator) Billy Packer watched practice yesterday and said he thought Garcia is going to be a great player,” Pitino said. “He’s got great skills and his body will fill out. I hate to agree with him, but he’s right.”
Indiana shot 54 percent (14-of-26) in the first half, but cooled slightly in the second half. The Hoosiers committed 20 turnovers and allowed the Cardinals to shoot 55 percent (22-of-40) in the second half.
“You can watch them on TV and on tape but until you see them in person, you don’t know what you are up against,” Davis said.
The Hoosiers held a 22-15 edge on the glass in the first half, but Louisville posted a commanding 24-11 cushion over the final 20 minutes. Luke Whitehead grabbed nine rebounds and Dartez had six.
“Our rebounding in the second half was tremendous,” Pitino said. “It was an awesome performance in the second half.”
Tom Coverdale led all five starters in double figures with 14 points for Indiana. Jeff Newton and George Leach each scored 12 points and Kyle Hornsby fouled out with 11.
The Cardinals shot 76.5 percent (26-of-34) at the foul line, including a 9-of-11 showing by Myles. Garcia and Whitehead combined to make 10-of-11 free throws.
Louisville improved to 10-0 at home and is 16-1 for the first time since the 1974-75 season.