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Louisville 68, Rutgers 48

The SportsXchange

PISCATAWAY -- Louisville's dominance over Rutgers continued on Wednesday night with a commanding 68-48 win at the Rutgers Athletic Center.

The No. 11 Cardinals (19-4, 7-3 Big East) are now 11-1 against the Scarlet Knights and have claimed seven straight in this series.

Rutgers (12-9, 3-7), paced by 13 points from Eli Carter, has dropped five games in a row, three to teams ranked in the Top 25. It faces No. 20 Georgetown at home on Saturday.

Louisville, which received 19 points from Wayne Blackshear, turned a close game at the half into a rout by going on a 23-4 run during the first nine minutes of the second half to grab a commanding 51-30 lead. Russ Smith did the bulk of the damage in the blitz, scoring eight points.

Louisville's vaunted 2-2-1 press wore down the Scarlet Knights in the second half. Coach Rick Pitino's squad held Rutgers to just 32 percent shooting from the floor on the night. It was the 11th time this season the Cardinals held an opponent to 35 percent or under from the field.

The game held the same format when Louisville faced another Big East Conference team in New Jersey earlier this season. It led just 36-34 at the half against Seton Hall on Jan. 9 before limiting the Pirates to only eight field goals in the second half en route to grabbing the 73-58 win.

Louisville committed an uncharacteristic nine turnovers, but managed a 28-26 halftime advantage. Rutgers, led by Carter's 11 points, did a nice job against the 2-2-1 press, but found itself in trouble in the half-court.

The Scarlet Knights were able to score only four paints in the paint, finding it difficult to maneuver around the 6-foot-11 Gorgui Dieng, who recorded two blocks and grabbed five of Louisville's 14 rebounds.

The first half saw the score tied five times, three by Rutgers in the last three minutes.

Blackshear came off the Cardinal bench to score 11 first-half points.

NOTES: Louisville is third in the nation in steals with 11.2 per game and turnover margin at plus-6.55 per game. ... Rutgers is now 1-5 this season against Top 25 teams. ... Russ Smith's 18.4 scoring average is the highest for a Cardinal since Reece Gaines averaged 21 points during the 2001-02 season. Smith's average ranks as the 19th highest at Louisville. ... Dane Miller's 46-game starting streak ended for Rutgers.
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