Louisville turns over No. 9 Marquette in 84-71 win

By Mike Fitzpatrick

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, March 8 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

Marquette head coach Buzz Williams calls out to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville in the quarterfinals of the Big East Conference tournament in New York, Thursday, March 8, 2012.

Frank Franklin II, Associated Press

NEW YORK — Peyton Siva and his pesky Louisville teammates looked even faster than usual in those flashy orange jerseys.

Kyle Kuric scored 20 points, Siva added 18 and Louisville forced No. 9 Marquette into a season-high 26 turnovers, advancing to the Big East tournament semifinals with an 84-71 victory Thursday night.

Wearing a new set of bright, neon-looking uniforms, the seventh-seeded Cardinals flashed their quick hands all over the court and held Big East Player of the Year Jae Crowder to 10 points in 31 foul-plagued minutes.

"I thought the guys did a tremendous job of pushing the pace tonight, getting a lot of easy baskets for us," coach Rick Pitino said.

Marquette entered as the top-scoring squad in the league at 76.1 points per game. But the defense of Chane Behanan and reserve Jared Swopshire made it a very tough night for Crowder and his teammates.

"It was fun for me," Swopshire said. "He's a great player, and me and Chane talked about it when I subbed in that we wanted to keep him from getting touches, especially in the paint area. So, I feel like we were able to do that."

Russ Smith and Behanan each scored 12 points for Louisville (24-9), which plays No. 23 Notre Dame, the third seed, on Friday night.

Darius Johnson-Odom had 23 points to pace No. 2 seed Marquette (25-7), blown out by Louisville in the quarterfinals last year as well. The Golden Eagles trailed by 15 just 6 minutes in and never took the lead. They have yet to make it past the tournament semifinals since joining the Big East for the 2005-06 season.

Siva had another outstanding all-around game at point guard, piling up eight rebounds, six assists and four steals. He had 14 points and six steals in a 61-55 victory over Seton Hall on Wednesday night.

"He played terrific, but I've got to somehow get him a few blows," Pitino said. "Going into this tournament we were hoping he would turn it around, and he is, and we had a long talk. I used the analogy of the New York Giants — nobody remembers the regular season anymore when they went into the playoffs, just matters what you do in the postseason."

Smith also was a pest, snatching five of Louisville's 14 steals. No wonder Pitino said Wednesday night that his squad is one of the best defensive teams in the country.

"The style, we go up and down. That's what Coach wants us to do," Behanan said. "All the teams we played so far in the Big East, they expect us to slow it down. So now coming in, we agreed we were going to play up and down like we (were) in the Bahamas. We've just got to get used to it and attack everybody the same way in each game. That's how we've been getting up. That's it."

Junior Cadougan coughed up the ball a team-high eight times and the 26 turnovers by Marquette, which averaged only 12.8 all season, were one shy of the Big East tournament record. The Golden Eagles' previous high this season was 17.

Marquette overcame an 18-2 deficit at home to beat Louisville in their only other meeting this season, and the Golden Eagles fell behind early again. This time, Louisville's swarming defense was too much to overcome.

"They kept hounding us," Johnson-Odom said. "I think we had an idea that they were going to pressure us. I didn't think it was going to be at a high level like that."

Vander Blue's layup cut it to 54-50 with 13:29 remaining, but Kuric drained a 3 and Smith hit a pair of free throws with 11:22 to go. Marquette never got closer than seven again.

It was the fourth time in five years that the No. 7 seed beat the No. 2 seed in the quarterfinals at the Big East tournament.

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