December 7, 2013
Cards cook Cajuns, 113-74
The Cardinals shot a season-high 61.3 percent from the field (38-for-62), their highest total overall since shooting 64.6 percent (42-of-65) at Western Kentucky on Dec. 22, 2010.
The No. 7 ranked Louisville basketball team won its third game in a row, running, pressing and dunking past Louisiana Lafayette 113-74 Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center. Six Cardinals scored in double figures with Montrezl Harrell leading the way with 20 points.
Louisville led by just seven points at halftime, but outscored the Cajuns by 32 in the second half. In a game coach Rick Pitino called one of the team's most complete efforts of the season, the Cards shot 61 percent from the field and 83 percent from the line.
Sophomore Montrezl Harrell matched a career-high with 20 points on 9-for-10 shooting from the field while also pulling down a game-high eight rebounds.
Louisville finished at 71.4 percent (20-of-28) from the field in the first half on Saturday for its highest field goal percentage in any half in head coach Rick Pitino's 13 seasons at the helm.
Junior Wayne Blackshear scored 15 points on 2-of-6 shooting from the field and 9-of-10 shooting from the free throw line. Both the free throws made and attempted on Saturday for Blackshear are career highs. He also matched a career-high with four steals.
With a 41-29 advantage on the glass, the Cardinals improved to 7-0 this season when winning the rebounding battle.
The 47 points by Louisiana in the opening 20 minutes are the most allowed by Louisville in the first half of a game this season and the second most in either half trailing only the 49 by North Carolina in the second half on Nov. 24 (L, 93-84).
Coach Rick Pitino's opening statement:
"Our goal tonight, because we weren't playing very good defense, was just to try and fatigue them, so they would shoot a lower percentage and I think the guys did a good job of that - keep the pace up, keep it going, take advantage of their foul trouble and pick-and-roll them to death with their guys in foul trouble.
Our guys did a very good job on offense of exploiting the foul trouble and the things that they weren't doing. Defensively, we've just got a long way to go. When you're 5-10 and 6-foot at the guards, I looked at it, the shots were being challenged, but they've got to get off their feet higher.
And then we made a couple of mistakes on pick-and-rolls. But, that young man [Shawn Long] is pretty tough to guard. We just wanted to wear him down and we did a good job of that."
On Wayne Blackshear's performance:
"I thought this was his best game. And I told him before the game, 'Son, it's time for you to start doing some things. You're a better basketball player than this.' He certainly was offensively more aggressive, had four steals (and) made his free throws. That was another good thing that we did tonight; we shot our free throws well and we didn't fatigue. We were playing at a very high pace, pressing and we didn't fatigue and that was good."
With 10 points on Saturday, senior Luke Hancock reached exactly 1,000 points in his collegiate career. He scored 604 points in two seasons at George Mason and has 396 points in his second year at Louisville.
Ranking eighth in the nation in turnovers entering the week at 9.3 per game, the Cardinals lowered that on Saturday with just eight marking the fifth time in nine games this season they have finished with nine or less turnovers.
Freshman Mangok Mathiang blocked a career best four shots while scoring six points with six rebounds in 21 minutes.
At 33-of-40 from the free throw line, the Cardinals set season highs in attempts and makes.
With his three steals on Saturday, senior guard Russ Smith surpassed 200 for his career. With 201 overall, he ranks eighth on the Cardinals' all-time leaderboard, three behind No. 7 DeJuan Wheat (204 steals, 1993-97). Smith also added 16 points on Saturday to move closer to the top 25 on Louisville's career scoring leaderboard. With 1,393 points, Smith is 20 points behind the career total of 1,413 for Francisco Garcia (2002-05) at No. 25 overall.
Western Kentucky Awaits Next
After a week off to focus on final examinations, Louisville will play the fourth of five straight at home as the Cardinals face intrastate foe Western Kentucky in the KFC Yum! Center on Saturday (Dec. 14, noon,
Western Kentucky was the preseason choice to win the Sun Belt Conference. A preseason All-SBC first team selection, junior guard T.J. Price has scored in double figures in 18 of his last 19 games and leads WKU in scoring, averaging 17.1 points per game. Junior forward George Fant, an All-SBC second team pick, is averaging 13.1 points and a team-high 6.1 rebounds.
The Hilltoppers have held 10 of their last 12 opponents under 70 points and rank 21st in the nation in scoring defense (60.8 ppg). Louisville trails WKU 37-39 in its all-time series, the third-most played rivalry for the Cardinals.
UofL has won the last four matchups, including a 78-55 victory on Dec. 22, 2012 in the last meeting as Russ Smith totaled 20 points to lead the Cardinals in a game played at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. Louisville is scheduled to play in Bowling Green next year.
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