With the win, Louisville extends its home-court winning streak against unranked (Associated Press) BIG EAST opponents to 17 games. The Cards' last loss in Louisville to a league foe outside the top 25 came on Jan. 1, 2008 (58-57 to Cincinnati in the conference lidlifter).
U of L has now taken five of the past six meetings with the Mountaineers and leads the overall series 8-3. West Virginia has not defeated the Cards in Louisville since a Final Four matchup on March 20, 1959 (94-79 in the first-ever meeting between the squads).
The Mountaineers held a halftime advantage over Louisville for the first time since the 2005 NCAA Tournament, when WVU led 40-27 at the break but fell to the Cards in overtime, 93-85, in the Elite Eight. It was West Virginia's first halftime lead over U of L in Louisville since the 1959 Final Four game, in which the Mountaineers led 48-32 at the half en route to a 94-79 win.
The 11-point halftime deficit was the largest faced by Louisville since trailing by 15 at the midway point to Charlotte on Dec. 5 of last season. It was the Cards' biggest halftime deficit in a BIG EAST game since Notre Dame led 37-19 at the break on Feb. 12, 2009 (on the way to a 90-57 win) and its largest in a conference home game since UConn led 38-26 on Feb. 2, 2009 (a 68-51 victory for the Huskies).
Louisville had not overcome a bigger halftime deficit since the Cards rallied from 13 down at the break to defeat the Mountaineers in overtime in a memorable 2005 Elite Eight game. The last time U of L erased a bigger halftime spread to win in regulation: March 20, 1994, when the Minnesota Golden Gophers led 34-22 at the break before Louisville stormed back for a 60-55 victory in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Louisville last overcame a larger halftime deficit against a conference opponent just eight days prior to the Minnesota game, when the Cards outscored Virginia Tech 44-21 in the second half after being down 46-32 at the midway point (Metro Conference Tournament).
West Virginia shot just 18.2 percent (4-for-22) from the field in the second half, scoring 17 points. The 17 points were the fewest in a half for a Louisville conference opponent since USF scored 15 in the first half of an 85-40 Cardinal win on Jan. 10, 2004.
Louisville held a league foe to fewer than 20 second-half points for the first time since Jan. 22, 1983, when Southern Miss managed just 17 points in the latter half of a 63-48 U of L victory. The last conference opponent to manage fewer than 17 second-half points was Cincinnati (11) on March 7, 1981, in the championship game of the Metro Conference Tournament, a game the Cards won 42-31.
The 109 total points were the fewest in a conference game for Louisville since Feb. 8, 2009, when the Cards downed St. John's 60-47 at Madison Square Garden. The 55 points were the Cards' fewest in a win since Dec. 1, 2007 (47-44 victory over the Miami RedHawks), and their fewest in a conference win since Feb. 26, 2005 (53-44 over Memphis).
U of L won its third consecutive one-point game since falling 56-55 to UNLV at home on Dec. 31, 2008 (the Cards also defeated Marquette on Jan. 15 of this season and Villanova on Jan. 10, 2009).
One-point games for Louisville, Rick Pitino era W 55-54 - West Virginia (1.26.11)
W 71-70 - Marquette (1.15.11)
W 61-60 - at Villanova (1.10.09)
L 55-56 - UNLV (12.31.08)
L 57-58 - Cincinnati (1.1.08)
W 75-74 - at Memphis (3.12.05)
L 80-81 - at Marquette (3.6.04)
L 69-70 - vs. Iowa (11.29.03)
L 58-59 - at Saint Louis (2.12.03)
W 63-62 - Princeton (3.12.02)
W 73-72 - Tennessee (12.20.01)
The Cardinals' 10-steal game was their 25th straight with at least six thefts, a school record-long streak and the longest active streak in the country. Louisville sits fourth nationally with 10.1 steals per contest.
Consecutive games with 6+ steals, Division I (active, through Wednesday's games) 1. 25 - Louisville (15-8-6-6-9-11-10-19-11-12-9-7-8-11-7-9-14-9-10-6-11-6-13-9-10)
2. 19 - Valparaiso (6-6-9-9-8-7-10-8-6-12-9-8-7-6-8-7-9-9-10)
3. 16 - Auburn (10-14-8-6-6-15-8-16-13-9-10-7-7-9-7-8)
4. 14 - Houston Baptist (7-12-10-6-8-11-7-9-10-10-6-9-6-11)
5. 12 - Santa Clara (8-8-10-6-7-10-14-6-9-6-6-7)
6. 10 - Texas Southern (6-11-6-6-8-9-7-11-11-9)
7. 9 - Middle Tennessee State (7-7-7-10-8-7-10-12-9)
Consecutive games with 6+ steals, Louisville history 1. 25 - 2.28.10-Present (15-8-6-6-9-11-10-19-11-12-9-7-8-11-7-9-14-9-10-6-11-6-13-9-10)
2. 23 - 11.23.94-2.9.95 (18-16-16-6-19-11-9-16-6-11-11-10-9-9-7-12-7-11-11-8-9-6-13)
Steals per game, Division I (through Wednesday's games)
1. 10.6 - Oregon State (191 in 18 G)
2. 10.3 - VMI (196 in 19 G)
3. 10.2 - Duquesne (193 in 19 G) 4. 10.1 - Louisville (202 in 20 G)
5. 10.0 - Northwestern State (209 in 21 G)
6. 10.0 - Missouri (199 in 20 G)
7. 9.8 - Georgia Tech (186 in 19 G)
8. 9.8 - Bowling Green (195 in 20 G)
9. 9.6 - Georgia Southern (212 in 22 G)
With his 588th career victory, Cardinal head coach Rick Pitino moved into sole possession of fourth place in NCAA history for most wins in the first 25 years of a career, passing former Louisville coach Denny Crum. Pitino needs three more wins to overtake the man he faced on Wednesday night, West Virginia headmaster Bob Huggins (590).
Best coaching starts by victories (first 25 seasons)
1. 647-133 (.829) - Jerry Tarkanian, Long Beach State & UNLV (1969-92)
2. 600-208 (.743) - Jim Boeheim, Syracuse (1977-2001)
3. 590-211 (.737) - Bob Huggins, Walsh, Akron, & Cincinnati (1981-2005) 4. 588-214 (.733) - Rick Pitino, Boston U., Providence, Kentucky, & Louisville (1978-83, '85-87, '89-97, '01-Present)
5. 587-224 (.724) - Denny Crum, Louisville (1972-96)
6. 579-171 (.772) - Dean Smith, North Carolina (1962-86)
7. 573-218 (.724) - John Thompson, Georgetown (1973-97)
8. 571-219 (.723) - Mike Krzyzewski, Army & Duke (1976-2000)
The Cards were held without a block for the first time since last season's Western Carolina game (Dec. 12).
A crucial 13-0 second-half run covering 8:20 allowed Louisville to turn an 11-point deficit (42-31) into a two-point cushion. WVU missed 10 shots during the run, with the Cards collecting the rebound after each of the first eight misfires.
Louisville held the Mountaineers without a field goal for a stretch of 13:40 from the beginning of the 13-0 run until the game clock read 1:30. WVU missed 13 straight shots during that span.
WVU (10 assists, 15 turnovers) became the 17th Cardinal opponent out of 20 this season to have at least two more turnovers than assists.
With three three-point field goals, senior Preston Knowles moved into the top 10 in Louisville history for threes made, passing Marques Maybin (156 treys from 1997-01) for 10th place.
Knowles has now hit three or more threes in eight of the last 11 games.
Junior Chris Smith continued his solid rebounding of late, finishing with six boards. He is averaging 6.5 rebounds per game over the last four contests, also handing out 14 assists over that stretch.
Smith also went 6-for-10 from the floor in the contest, upping his shooting percentage over the last 10 games to .551 (49-for-89).
Freshman Elisha Justice set a career high by nabbing a pair of steals against the Mountaineers.
Junior Terrence Jennings' four offensive rebounds tied for the third-most of his career, behind only the five he collected at St. John's on Feb. 8, 2009, and against San Francisco earlier this season. Jennings' nine total rebounds tied his career high.
Sophomore Peyton Siva went 5-for-5 from the field in the game--including the game-winning layup with 4.5 seconds remaining--making him the second Cardinal in two games to accomplish the feat (Stephan Van Treese made all five of his shots against Providence). The last Louisville player to make six or more shots in a game without a miss was Terrence Williams (6-for-6) on Dec. 10, 2005, versus Akron.
Siva was 2-for-2 from long range, giving him four makes in his last five three-point attempts over the past three games. He also notched his eighth multi-steal outing in his last 10 games.