LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Despite the fact that No. 3 Louisville ranked near the top nationally in virtually every statistical defensive category, coach Rick Pitino had been critical of his team's defense recently. His players heeded his criticism Saturday, holding South Florida to 15 points in the first half en route to a 64-38 victory. In that half the Cardinals (15-1, 3-0 Big East) held the Bulls (9-6, 0-3) to 22.7 percent shooting and outrebounded them 30-10. Chane Behanan, who returned after missing one game with an ankle injury, had 12 rebounds in 11 minutes, outboarding the entire South Florida team. South Florida didn't get its fourth basket of the half until 5:33 remained and made just five baskets in all. The second half was a mere formality, with the only two questions being whether Louisville could double South Florida's score (it was 62-32 with two minutes left) and whether Louisville could hold USF under 40 points. Payton Siva led Louisville with 17 points, hitting 7 of 11 shots, including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. He became the 54th Louisville player to score 1,000 points. Gorgui Dieng had 12 points and 16 rebounds as Louisville had 10 players score (just two reached double figures). Behanan played only seven minutes in the second half and finished with seven points and 12 rebounds. Victor Rudd paced USF with 10 points -- the only Bull in double figures. The Bulls shot 26.7 percent (12 of 45), 17.6 percent on treys (3 of 17) and were outrebounded 49-24. Louisville won its 10th straight game, its only loss 76-71 to top-ranked Duke when Dieng was out with a broken wrist. NOTES: Behanan returned to action for Louisville after missing one game because of a sprained ankle suffered in practice Monday. He had been projected to be out 7-10 days and three games. The 6-foot-6 sophomore forward is third on the team in scoring at 11.4 points per game and second in rebounding at 7.4. He had played in every game until missing the Providence game Wednesday. ... South Florida was missing two players who had been starting. Senior Shaun Noriega (8.4 ppg) missed his seventh straight game with a foot injury, and senior Kore White (5.1 ppg) missed his fifth straight game with a foot injury.
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