LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Protecting a lead has been an issue for the University of Louisville basketball. On Tuesday night in the KFC Yum! Center, the Cards made some progress.

Coach David Padgett had to call timeout with his team up 15 late in the first half after a couple of rushed offensive possessions. The result was an 18-point halftime lead. And despite two more Pittsburgh runs in the second half, the Cards stabilized and handed the struggling Panthers a 77-51 defeat before a crowd announced at 16,461.

The victory gave Padgett a win in his first Atlantic Coast Conference contest, and provided the Cardinals a shot of confidence after their disastrous trip to Kentucky.

The Cardinals got 19 points from senior Quentin Snider and 12 from Deng Adel. The pair shot 12 of 21 from the field, after combining for 7-of-23 shooting at Kentucky last Friday.

Pittsburgh trimmed its 18-point deficit to 11 early in the second half before the Cardinals stopped the threat, then again cut a 23-point lead to 16 with just under 18 minutes to play. Padgett called a 30-second timeout just before the under-8 media timeout, then used the media timeout itself to steady his team.

The Cards responded with a 10- run, pushing their lead to 70-44 behind six free-throws by Ray Spalding, who had sat for a good portion of the second half with foul trouble.

Spalding finished with 10 points and Ryan McMahon added 10 off the bench for the Cards, who improved to 11-3.

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