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December 7, 2013

Louisville races past Louisiana




Earlier this week, Louisville coach Rick Pitino told fans that his team's game with Louisiana-Lafayette would be exciting because the Ragin' Cajuns like to run. He was right. Louisville set a Yum! Center scoring record while beating Lafayette 113-74.

The Cardinals set a new Yum! Center record with 113 points, the second-most points scored by a Louisville team in the Rick Pitino era.

"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," Pitino said. "... Right now the only way we can win is with offense, but we've got to play better defense."

The fast-pace of the game allowed for six different Louisville players scoring in double-figures led by Montrezl Harrell's 20 points. Chris Jones had 19 points, Russ Smith had 16, Wayne Blackshear had 15, Terry Rozier had 11 and Luke Hancock scored 10.

The game wasn't a blowout early on. The Cardinals doubled the Ragin' Cajuns' point total during the first five minutes, but Lafayette wasn't done. Three three-pointers in the span of a couple of minutes sparked a comeback that saw the Cajuns tie the score at 32 with 7:28 remaining before halftime.

Lafayette hit six threes in the first half, their sixth pushing them ahead for the first time at 39-37. Louisville tied the score at 39 and then again at 41, the beginning of a 11-0 run that lifted Louisville to a 50-41 lead with just under two minutes left before halftime.

Lafayette answered Louisville's run with a 5-0 run of their own before Louisville entered halftime up 54-47. Louisville finished the half shooting 71.4 percent. Lafayette ended the first half shooting 61.3 percent including 7 of 10 from beyond-the-arc.

"To be honest with you, the press was the reason they were shooting such a good percentage," Pitino said. "They shot like 70 percent against our press tonight because we were trap pulling. The half court defense on both zone and man, they shot a very low percentage. It was beating our press that they shot a high percentage."

After the half, Louisville scored the first six points to lead 60-47, and continued to pressure Lafayette. The Cajuns pushed back, cutting the Cardinals lead to 62-54 before a 13-0 Louisville run put the game out of reach.

Unlike other foes this season, Lafayette continued to try to run at a fast pace with the No. 7 Cardinals. UofL led 83-61 with just under 12 minutes left, and led 92-64 three minutes later.

The Cardinals hit 100 points in spectacular fashion - an alley-oop from Terry Rozier to Harrell for a monster dunk. Louisville led 100-66 with 7:27 left.

Louisville led by 39 points with 1:05 remaining, scoring just 13 points in the final 7:27.


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