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Originally published Saturday, December 18, 2010 at 2:34 PM

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No. 20 Louisville routs Gardner-Webb 78-49

Preston Knowles scored a career-high 24 points and No. 20 Louisville bounced back from its first loss of the season by dominating Gardner-Webb 78-49 on Saturday.

AP Sports Writer


Preston Knowles scored a career-high 24 points and No. 20 Louisville bounced back from its first loss of the season by dominating Gardner-Webb 78-49 on Saturday.

Freshman center Gorgui Dieng added eight points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks in his first career start while reserve Mike Marra broke out of a prolonged slump to score 10 points as the Cardinals (9-1) breezed past the overmatched Runnin' Bulldogs.

Laron Buggs led Gardner-Webb (6-8) with 16 points, but the Runnin' Bulldogs couldn't find the same magic they used three years ago when they knocked off Kentucky.

Knowles and Dieng made sure of it, keying a dominant defensive effort that limited Gardner-Webb to 31 percent shooting, blocked 14 shots and came up with seven steals.

The Cardinals took control with a 20-0 run midway through the first half and never looked back, buoyed by the changes coach Rick Pitino said were coming after Louisville was dominated in the paint during a loss to Drexel on Tuesday.

Pitino benched junior center Terrence Jennings in favor of Dieng, a native of Senegal who Pitino admits is struggling to pick up the nuances of the game, particularly when it comes to knowing where to go on offense.

Yet Pitino didn't put Dieng in the lineup because of his offensive skills. Though skinny, the 6-foot-10 Dieng has become adept at using his massive wingspan to snatch rebounds. He came in averaging 4.0 boards in limited playing time and more than doubled that total in the first half.

There were plenty of Gardner-Webb misses to go around. The Runnin' Bulldogs missed 12 straight shots during Louisville's big run midway through the first half.

Dieng started the burst with a layup off a nice feed from Siva and Marra - mired in a miserable 1-for-21 slump over the last three games - drove the baseline for another lay-in and the Cardinals were off to the races.

Gardner-Webb went more than 8 minutes without making a field goal, and by the time Keith Manley ended the drought with a lay-up the Runnin' Bulldogs trailed 29-11.

It was all the cushion Louisville would need, and the benching appeared to get Jennings' attention. He was active on both ends of the court after getting pushed around in the lane by Drexel, who outrebounded the Cardinals 46-26 and left Pitino fuming in a defeat that frustrated him so much he broke one of his own rules.

Pitino said Friday he spent a good 36 hours stewing over the loss, a good 12 hours beyond the window he typically gives himself.

It only took about 15 minutes for the Cardinals to ease his mind Saturday. Louisville took a 14-point halftime lead and then built on it throughout the second half.

Even better was Louisville's play down low. The Cardinals outrebounded Gardner-Webb 45-26, outscored the Runnin' Bulldogs 30-14 in the paint and made Gardner-Webb work to get off shots.

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