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December 17, 2013

Louisville's fast start sinks Missouri State




Rick Pitino came into Tuesday night's game against Missouri State expecting his team to be challenged. The No. 6 Cardinals jumped on the Bears 29-8 in the first 12 minutes and never really looked back.

Missouri State (8-2) led Louisville (10-1) 4-3 two minutes into the game when the Cardinals went on a 16-0 run that started with a free throw by Russ Smith.



"I don't know what was better, the defense, the offense or the offensive rebounding," Pitino said. "It was just awesome in the first half. Missouri State is a good basketball team. Outside of free throws shooting, we played a great game in every phase of the game."

A layup by Montrezl Harrell, a jumper by Smith and a three by Wayne Blackshear pushed Louisville's lead to 11-4. A layup by Mangok Mathiang and a jumper by Terry Rozier gave the Cardinals their first double-digit lead at 15-4.

Louisville would never lead by less than 11 points the rest of the game. A dunk by Chane Behanan and a layup by Rozier pushed the lead to 19-4 before Missouri State finally hit the scoreboard again with a pair of free throws at the 10:57 mark.

The Cardinals dominated Missouri State in every way possible during the first half. The Bears went without a field goal from 17:59 to 9:02. Louisville out-rebounded Missouri State 27-10 in the first half and the Cardinals hit 54.5 percent of their shots.

After a pair of free throws by Rozier with 1:09 left in the first half, Louisville led by 26 points, 47-21. UofL went into halftime ahead 47-24.

Louisville was not as dominant in the second half, but still maintained a healthy lead. When Missouri State threatened to make a game of it by cutting the UofL lead to 62-45 with 11:09 left, Louisville scored seven straight points to take a 24-point lead again.

The Cardinals closed out the 90-60 win with four players in double-figures led by Harrell's 17. Blackshear, Rozier and Smith each scored 11 points.


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