If the rims could have talked at Louisville's KFC Yum! Center on Thursday night, they probably would have been crying.
No. 20 Pittsburgh and No. 21 Louisville clanged and bricked their way through their Atlantic Coast Conference showdown, but the Cardinals finally pulled away in the second half for a 59-41 decision at Louisville, Ky.
The teams combined to make just 15 of 57 first-half field-goal attempts, including a brutal two of 17 on 3-pointers.
Louisville (14-3, 3-1 ACC) almost completely eschewed the long jumper after halftime, making 12 of 19 shots as it denied the Panthers (14-2, 3-1) their first win over a Top 25 foe this season.
"That was defense like we've played the last four or five years," Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said. "We worked so hard defensively. This is what Louisville basketball is all about. That's the best job we've done rotating."
The Panthers wound up shooting 28.6 percent (14-for-49) from the floor, while the Cardinals shot 41.2 percent (21-for-51).
Pittsburgh entered the game averaging 85.3 points per game and canning 49.7 percent of its field goals, but it never gained any traction as the Cardinals doubled forwards Michael Young and Jamel Artis while daring their teammates to take up slack.
That didn't happen. Young and Artis were able to score 18 and 11 points, respectively, but their teammates combined for just 12 points on 4-of-24 shooting.
"We had some guys missing practice (this week), but that's not a reason for us to perform the way we did today," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said.
Louisville center Chinanu Onuaku continued his recent surge, collecting his fourth straight double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Onuaku's nine points and seven rebounds before the break gave the Cardinals a 20-17 halftime lead.
"We wanted to move the ball around offensively and go to (Onuaku)," Pitino said. "That opened up other things in the second half."
Forward Damion Lee perked up after halftime, scoring 14 of his 18 points as the Cardinals built up a 15-point lead with less than eight minutes left.
The Panthers pulled within 45-36 when reserve forward Ryan Luther dunked off a steal, but Louisville used a 14-3 spurt to turn the game into a rout.
It was a nice bounce-back for the Cardinals, who ate a 66-62 loss on Sunday at Clemson.
"We played well as a team tonight," Onuaku said. "We try to speed teams up, make them throw bad passes, get a lot of deflections. We weren't trying to slow it down, but we were trying to play good, hard defense."
Pittsburgh, which boasted an assist-turnover ratio of 2-to-1 prior to tipoff, finished the game with only four assists and 19 turnovers. Louisville converted those mistakes into 21 points.
"The whole night, with the exception of one or two things, we played a beautiful game," Pitino said.
The Cardinals compiled 11 assists and committed 14 turnovers.
NOTES: Louisville C Chinanu Onuaku pulled down his 300th career rebound in the first half Thursday night. ... Pittsburgh entered the game as the Division I leader in free-throw percentage at 79.3 percent, but converted just 12 of 20 on Thursday. Louisville hit 16 of 19 foul shots. ... Cardinals F Damion Lee passed the 1,800-point mark for his career in Sunday's loss at Clemson.