Peyton Siva, Rakeem Buckles and Mike Marra scored 12 points each as Louisville's defense swarmed Marshall in the second half for an 80-66 victory on Saturday.
Elisha Justice added 10 points and reserve forward Stephan Van Treese provided eight energetic points off the bench as Louisville (4-0) remained perfect in its new downtown arena.
The Cardinals trailed by one at the break but used a 21-4 burst early in the second half to take control. Van Treese keyed the run with a pair of dunks while Marshall struggled with Louisville's pressure defense.
DeAndre Kane led the Thundering Herd (3-2) with a career-high 25 points and Tirrell Baines had 13 points and nine rebounds. But Marshall turned it over 19 times, including six giveaways in the first 3:42 of the second half, and that allowed Louisville to surge to the lead.
The Cardinals eventually built a 59-43 advantage on a putback by Gorgui Dieng with 10:58 to go. Marshall had opportunities to get back in it but couldn't capitalize at the free-throw line. The Thundering Herd went just 13 of 29 (44.8 percent) on free throws.
Marshall drew within 73-64 on a conventional three-point play by Kane with 1:30 to play but Buckles hit a jump hook in the lane and Siva added three free throws as Louisville held on.
Terrence Jennings had eight points, five rebounds and a career-high six blocks for Louisville, the most by a Cardinal since Kendall Dartez had nine against Holy Cross in December, 2003. Jennings has blocked at least three shots in four straight games, the longest such streak by a Louisville player since Pervis Ellison had three-plus blocks in five consecutive games in 1988.
Yet Jennings found himself on the bench for stretches in the first half after the Thundering Herd dominated the boards. Marshall went into the half with a 34-33 lead thanks to 14 offensive rebounds that translated into 14 second-chance points.
Pitino sent Jennings back out on the floor in the second half but kept Buckles, who started, on the bench.
Enter Van Treese, who has impressed Pitino with his relentlessness off the bench. His presence gave the Cardinals a much-needed jolt.
He gave Louisville a 38-37 lead with a putback dunk then earned a bit of redemption when he came up with a loose ball moments later and raced in for another dunk. He bricked a dunk attempt under similar circumstances in the first half.
Van Treese added a layup off a nice feed from Marra as Louisville moved in front 45-39.
The Thundering Herd, meanwhile, had trouble getting into any rhythm as the Cardinals pounced on every loose ball.
During one sequence, the Cardinals came up with a steal and Siva threw the ball down the court to Van Treese. The ball appeared headed out of bounds before Van Treese leaped in the air and tipped it to Marra, who then dropped it to Dieng, who hit a little fadeaway in the lane to put the Cardinals up 55-41.
It was more than enough to keep Louisville's record spotless at the KFC Yum! Center.