LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (Ticker) -- Francisco Garcia scored 25 points and No. 17 Louisville showed no rust after a lengthy layoff, hammering Lafayette, 98-57, on Saturday.
After winning three of four games on a trip to Hawaii, the Cardinals returned home for their first game in 10 days and had an easy time with the Leopards, opening up a 54-19 lead at the half and improving to 58-7 at Freedom Hall under coach Rick Pitino.
Garcia hit 7-of-11 shots, including 3-of-5 from the arc, to lead five Cardinals in double figures. He added seven rebounds, five assists and three blocks.
Freshman Juan Palacios scored 16 points, Larry O'Bannon added 13 while Ellis Myles and Taquan Dean chipped in 12 and 11 points respectively. Myles added 16 rebounds for Louisville, which held a 49-35 advantage on the glass and used a quick start to put the game out of reach.
The Cardinals opened the game with a 17-1 run and stretched the lead out to 30-4 midway through the opening half. Lafayette never led and couldn't handle Louisville inside as the Cardinals won the points in the paint battle, 36-12.
Louisville (4-1) shot it well and played solid defense to pick up its third win in a row. The Cardinals shot 51.5 percent (34-for-66) from the floor and limited the Leopards to just 31.7 (19-of-60) percent shooting.
"I'm real happy with our guys' focus and I'm happy with the ball movement," Pitino said. "We still have a lot to work on defensively. They had a lot of open looks at the basket but the ball didn't go down. Good defense doesn't allow those open looks."
Lafayette was facing a ranked team for the first time since March 17, 2000 when they lost to No. 5 Temple in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Leopards (1-4) were thoroughly outclassed in this one, dropping their fourth straight after a season-opening victory over Duquesne.
Paul Cummins led Lafayette with 13 points and Marcus Harley added 12.
"I think they are terrific. They got off to a great start," Lafayette coach Fran O'Hanlon said. "They shoot the basketball so well. Defensively, they're very active and obviously I think they are very deserving of a top 20 ranking."