Russ Smith # 2 of the Louisville Cardinals shoots the ball during a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Hide Caption

Russ Smith, Louisville crush FIU 85-56

a a a a
Share this story

MIAMI (AP) -- Russ Smith scored 18 points, Wayne Blackshear added 13 and No. 6 Louisville won its sixth straight, easing past FIU 85-56 on Saturday night.

Smith had 12 in the first half for the Cardinals (11-1), who never trailed and were rarely threatened, outside of a couple brief early stretches where the game was tight.

Tymell Murphy scored 16 points and former Louisville player Rakeen Buckles added 13 for FIU (8-5), which was coached last season by Richard Pitino, the son of Louisville coach Rick Pitino.

Rick Pitino decided to honor the contract and play FIU, offering to do so in Miami even after his son left the Panthers to take over at Minnesota after last season. When Richard Pitino left FIU, Louisville had the option of canceling the series.

"But they wanted to give us the game and we're very appreciative," FIU director of sports and entertainment Pete Garcia said.

There were plenty of potential pratfalls that could have grabbed at Louisville in this one.

First, it absolutely was the biggest game of FIU's season, considering the Panthers are ineligible for any postseason appearance because of academic sanctions.

The Cardinals had to avoid slipping into vacation mode, which likely wasn't easy since they checked into an upscale Miami Beach resort on Wednesday and aren't leaving until Monday.

Christmas is looming and when Louisville gets past that, the rivalry game against Kentucky awaits on Dec. 28.

There was no looking ahead, not to the holiday and not to Kentucky, either. From the outset, Louisville was all business.

Louisville opened the game on a 10-3 run, setting a tone where the Cardinals would only have to flex their muscle in short spurts to assert control. FIU scored the next six points, but the next Louisville run restored order in a hurry.

Montrezl Harrell, who finished with 10 points, had an alley-oop that left the basket shaking for a full 15 seconds afterward, a play that started a 12-0 run by the Cardinals and turned a 10-9 edge into a 22-9 gap.

FIU settled down and back-to-back 3-pointers by Buckles and Dennis Mavin got the Panthers within 30-25 late in the half. But the Cardinals had one last first-half flurry in them, ripping off the last nine points and capping that spurt with another alley-oop dunk by Harrell with just over a second remaining.

That sent Louisville into the locker room with a 39-25 lead, and there was no doubt from there.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More U of L News
Russ Smith watches UofL women roll past LSU
Russ Smith watches UofL women roll past LSU

Shoni Schimmel scored 19 points, Tia Gibbs added five 3-pointers and third-seeded Louisville rolled seventh-seeded LSU 73-47 on Sunday to…

Kentucky tops Louisville 74-69 in Sweet 16
Kentucky tops Louisville 74-69 in Sweet 16

Aaron Harrison hit a 3-pointer for the go-ahead score with 39 seconds left to lift the fantastic freshmen of Kentucky to a 74-69 victory over…

Battle of the ages between UK, UofL
Battle of the ages between UK, UofL

Kentucky's John Calipari will send his one-and-done freshmen against Rick Pitino's senior-laden Louisville squad in the Sweet 16…

Bloodied and bruised: UK-UofL rivalry heats up
Bloodied and bruised: UK-UofL rivalry heats up

It was a crime really. For as storied an in-state rivalry as UK versus UofL is, no one ever wrote a book about the two teams meetings on the court.

Hancock leads Louisville to another Sweet 16
Hancock leads Louisville to another Sweet 16

Luke Hancock scored 21 points and Louisville shrugged off a cold shooting performance to beat Saint Louis 66-51 on Saturday and advance to…

U of L coach Pitino criticizes NCAA for matchup
U of L coach Pitino criticizes NCAA for matchup

Louisville coach Rick Pitino has no problem with his team's seeding in the NCAA tournament. It's the pairing that is drawing his ire.

Xavier, Louisville in brutal Midwest Region
Xavier, Louisville in brutal Midwest Region

The Midwest Region of the 2014 NCAA Tournament is brutal.

Louisville to face Manhattan in NCAA Tournament
Louisville to face Manhattan in NCAA Tournament

Defending national champion Louisville is seeded fourth in the Midwest Region of the NCAA tournament and will face 13th-seeded Manhattan on…

Louisville beats UConn to win American title
Louisville beats UConn to win American title

Montrezl Harrell had 22 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, and fifth-ranked Louisville beat No. 21 Connecticut 71-61 Saturday for the…

No. 5 Louisville routs Rutgers 92-31 at American
No. 5 Louisville routs Rutgers 92-31 at American

Chris Jones scored 15 of his 18 points in the first half, and fifth-ranked Louisville routed Rutgers 92-31 on Thursday in the quarterfinals…