2:00 PM ET, December 20, 2003
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Rick Pitino liked most of what he saw from his Louisville team Saturday.Francisco Garcia scored 21 and Luke Whitehead added 17 points and seven rebounds as No. 20 Louisville (5-1) won its fifth straight game, 80-63 win over Austin Peay on Saturday.The Cardinals converted 24 points off 17 Austin Peay turnovers, but Pitino wasn't happy with how his team defended the Governors' 3-point shooting."People forgot to defend the 3. You don't put your hands up like a mannequin. That drives me crazy," he said.The Governors (3-5) shot 34 percent (20-of-59) from the field, but 37.5 percent (9-of-24) from 3-point range."You can't get into a lot of those department stores right now," Pitino quipped. "If you could, you might see Luke and Larry O'Bannon posing as mannequins."(Luke) thinks you get all the girls by scoring points," Pitino said. "I've talked to a lot of student-athletes on campus, girls. They tell me they would much rather date a guy who passes the ball and creates a steal."Garcia also had eight assists, matching a career high, and went over 20 points for the fourth straight game as Louisville won its 20th straight nonconference home game.Pitino was worried about the game, a rematch of a first-round matchup in last season's NCAA tournament. The Cardinals won that game 86-64."I did not want to schedule Austin Peay," he said. "If we play them on a neutral court, it would've gone down to the final minute. On their court, they would've beaten us."Adrian Henning had 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Governors, who have lost three of four.The Cardinals turned to their full-court pressure to break open a close game midway through the first half.Up 18-16, Louisville forced Austin Peay's fifth turnover and Otis George dunked at the other end to start an 11-1 run.The Governors coughed up turnovers on two of their next three possessions and the Cardinals converted both miscues into layups."We played hard, just not very well," said Austin Peay coach Dave Loos. "I can't fault our effort."Anthony Davis' rebound basket with 5:49 left ended a six-minute field goal drought for Austin Peay.Corey Gipson sank a 3-pointer with 2:13 remaining to draw the Governors to 37-29. But Garcia hit his second 3-pointer of the game 15 seconds later and added a fast-break layup to push Louisville's lead back into double-digits."There were several points in the game when they could have blown us away," Loos said.Taquan Dean, who scored 11 points, said the Cardinals pulled away in spite of themselves."We didn't follow our game plan on offense or defense," he said. "We didn't focus every play down the floor."Davis and Henning hit consecutive 3-pointers to open the second half, cutting the Governors' 12-point deficit in half.The Cardinals answered with a quick 8-0 burst, capped by Kendall Dartez's transition layup off a Garcia assist with 17:13 left in the game."In practice, I look for my teammates. I tell them where they need to be," Garcia said. "During the game, if they're there, I find them. I try to get everybody involved."The Governors got within 10, but Alhaji Mohammed and Taquan Dean swished 3-pointers during another 8-0 Louisville spurt.Austin Peay gradually chipped the Cardinals' 18-point lead to nine, but Garcia had a midcourt steal and hit two free throws 4:34 remaining to stall the Governors' comeback."We broke down defensively when we got the big lead," said Garcia. "We laid back. Coach told us to keep working, keep playing hard."The Cardinals play VMI on Tuesday night before next Saturday's showdown at Kentucky."We'll get to Kentucky," Whitehead said. "We can't look over anyone right now."