College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, February 18, 2011
Winning on the road in college basketball is hard. Getting it done in the Big East borders on ridiculous. Just ask Louisville. Or Connecticut.
Just two days after being thoroughly throttled in Cincinnati, the Louisville Cardinals returned to a more familiar floor at the KFC Yum! Center and beat up on the visiting Huskies, 71-58, sweeping the season series.
Freshman center Gorgui Dieng put up 13 points and 12 rebounds for his first career double-double while point guard Peyton Siva harassed UConn's Kemba Walker into a rare 3-for-10 shooting performance. Siva led Louisville with 15 points.
The Cardinals got off early and held an 8-point lead at the break, but the Huskies rallied early in the second half to take their only lead of the game, which turned out to be brief. Louisville went on a 14-5 run to reclaim the lead and held off Connecticut down the stretch.
Louisville (20-7, 9-5) shot just 41%, but the Huskies hit a only a 37% clip. 16 UConn turnovers resulted in a large shooting discrepancy. Louisville hoisted up 65 shots to Connecticut's 46.
All five of Louisville's conference losses have come away from home. They've won seven straight in their own building. Connecticut (20-6, 8-6) has lost four of six on the road and this loss comes off a home win over Georgetown. The Huskies and Cardinals are ranked 13 and 16, respectively, though those numbers are likely to change come Monday.
NOTABLE: There are 17 Top 25 teams in action on Saturday, all facing unranked opponents, but the most-widely-anticipated contest will be at Madison Square Garden when St. John's hosts #4 Pittsburgh at noon ET. The Red Storm is 8-5 in the Big East and has won four straight conference games. Pitt leads the Big East with a 12-1 record.