Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Scoreless stretches to start both halves doomed Southern Mississippi in a 69-38 loss to No. 9 Louisville on Friday night, dropping the Golden Eagles from the ranks of the unbeaten.
Louisville (6-1) scored the game's first 13 points as Southern Miss (6-1) went 5 1/2 minutes without a point. It only got worse after halftime as USM needed 6:54 to score in the second half.
Coach Donnie Tyndall summed up the rout with four words.
"That was a tail-whipping," Tyndall said.
Southern Mississippi recovered briefly to get within 16-8 with 9:44 left in the half, but Louisville closed with an 18-5 run for a 34-13 lead at the break. USM could muster just four first-half field goals and had 12 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
"I thought they had us on our heels," Tyndall said. "I can't really explain why, but I thought our team was a little bit apprehensive against their pressure.
"We were reluctant to drive the ball. When we did go in there, we double-pumped some shots and they got deflections or steals or blocked shots. When you do that, now they're in the open floor where they're really, really good."
The Golden Eagles missed their first seven shots and added seven turnovers early in the second half before Jerrold Brooks' left-handed layup made it 45-15 with 13:06 remaining.
"They had us sped us a little bit," Brooks said. "Coming into the game we knew that they were going to shoot bad, quick shots and they're good at getting second-chance shots. Our plan was to box them out, but I guess it didn't go that way."
Louisville outrebounded Southern Mississippi 38-33, grabbing 15 offensive rebounds from 32 missed shots. The Cardinals scored 21 points off turnovers and had assists on 16 of their 23 made baskets.
"Overall, this was our best game of playing basketball because we played defense (and) we didn't try to outscore people," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said, five days after his team's lackluster effort in a 93-84 loss to North Carolina.
"I thought that North Carolina exposed some things playing them some zone and made them miss, which we did for the most part," Tyndall said. "The difference is Carolina limited them to one shot."
The last time Southern Miss scored fewer than 40 points in a game was Nov. 30, 2005, in a 77-35 loss at Arkansas.
Michael Craig's nine points led the Golden Eagles, who shot 13 of 45 from the field (29 percent) in their first loss.
Chris Jones came off the bench to lead Louisville with 18 points, including four 3-pointers.
Tyndall said Louisville isn't the same team right now that ended last season with 16 straight wins to claim the school's third national title. But he added that the defending champions return the pieces to be potentially even better.
"We got the bad end of a tail-whipping tonight, but we're not going to say we've got to start from ground zero," Tyndall said. "We just have to get better and learn from this experience."
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)