New York, NY (Sports Network) - The reigning Big East Tournament champions
began their title defense in typical fashion Thursday, as No. 4 Louisville
used its stout defensive prowess to shut down Villanova, 74-55, in
quarterfinal action at Madison Square Garden.
The Cardinals (27-5) earned a share of the Big East regular season title based
largely on its ability to wreak havoc on the defensive side of the ball. They
did just that against the Wildcats, forcing 24 turnovers and holding their
opponent to 39 percent shooting.
Russ Smith paced the offense with 28 points behind four 3-pointers, while Luke
Hancock and Peyton Siva added 12 and 10 points, respectively, for second-
seeded Louisville, which next plays the winner of the Notre Dame-Marquette
Villanova, one of the many teams on the proverbial NCAA Tournament bubble, won
the only regular season meeting between the teams, but the seventh-seeded
Wildcats (20-13) were unable to duplicate the balanced attack they had in
Wednesday's win over St. John's.
JayVaughn Pinkston scored 21 points, and Mouphtaou Yarou finished with 13
points and a game-high 10 rebounds in the loss.
The Sports Network