Louisville routs Chattanooga

Louisville (3-0) routed Chattanooga 106-65 in the second game of the Global Sports Shootout Monday night at the Yum! Center. Seven different Cardinals scored in double figures against the Mocs, led by Preston Knowles.

Monday night University of Louisville fans finally got what Cardinals coach Rick Pitino had promised.

Behind plenty of fast-breaking, pedal-to-the-metal play UofL crushed Chattanooga 106-65 in front of 21,191 fans at the KFC Yum! Center.

"This was exciting for them to play a team that wanted to run with them," Pitino said. "It was an exciting game for us and for the fans.

"We talked about coming out and making sure we did not slow the pace down. We played excellent defense the whole night. We got after them and pressured them."

Seven players scored in double figures - led by Preston Knowles with 14 points, all in the first half - as Louisville (3-0) shot 49.3 percent, including 62.9 percent in the second half, forced 25 turnovers and made 15 three-pointers.

"It was fun because we play that way every day in practice," said junior center Terrence Jennings, who scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds in 20 minutes of action.

Preston Knowles led Louisville in scoring Monday night. (AP)
"We want to score 100 points every game," added sophomore forward Rakeem Buckles, who scored 11 points in only 16 minutes.

Every able-bodied UofL player (freshman guard Russ Smith is out with a broken foot) scored against the Mocs (2-3), who were picked to finish third in the Southern Conference's North Division.

The Cards recorded 29 assists - their most since a 111-85 win over Akron on Dec. 10, 2005 - on 37 field goals. Freshman point guard Elisha Justice led the way with six, while Mike Marra, Peyton Siva and Chris Smith had five each.

"It's all one team," said Marra, whose team has assisted 72.1 percent (62 of 86) of its field goals in its first three games. "Nobody has any egos, everybody knows their roles, everybody contributes."

The Cards started slow, though.

UofL missed its first four shots and turned the ball over three times in the first three minutes, but luckily for Louisville the Mocs - who were coming off back-to-back wins over Kennesaw State and Marshall after losing their first two games to Tennessee and Austin Peay - were just as careless. Chattanooga turned it over thrice in the first 3 ½ minutes before back-to-back threes by Marra gave the Cards the lead they wouldn't relinquish.

One free throw by DeAntre Jefferson pulled Chattanooga within 12-11 with 11:31 left in the half, but the Cards responded with seven straight points - an inside basket by Jennings, a dunk by Knowles and a three by Knowles, on the heels of his own missed dunk.

Omar Wattad hit a three to end the run, but Jennings converted an old-fashioned three-point play off an offensive rebound to make it 24-14. The Mocs stayed close, though, thanks to Wattad. The 6-foot-5 junior guard, who came in averaging 9.5 points per game, scored 17 in the first half. Wattad, who entered shooting 17.2 percent from three-point range (5 for 29), hit 4 of 6 from long range in the first 20 minutes. His third three pulled Chattanooga within five (34-29) 3:33 before halftime.

Knowles, though, seemed to be trying to match Wattad. The senior hit 3 of 5 and he and Siva accounted for all of UofL's points during a 12-3 run late in the half that was capped by Siva's dish to Stephan Van Treese for a dunk and subsequent free throw.

The Cards shot just 37.5 percent from the field (15 of 40) in the first half, but did make their first 11 free throws and 13 of 14 (92.9 percent) overall.

In addition to Knowles' 14 Siva had 11 points and four assists, while Marra had eight points, four assists and three steals at intermission.

Chattanooga scored the first two points of the second half, but Louisville exploded for 18 of the next 21 points.

Marra started the spurt with a three before it became one fast break after another for the Cards. Jennings' dunked, then Kyle Kuric did, then Justice converted a steal and layup before Buckles and Kuric hit back-to-back threes to cap the run.

"All those steals we made were because of the pressure we were applying to the basketball," Pitino said. "Both Peyton and Bullet (Justice) did a terrific job of trying to wear out a very good point guard (Vanderbilt transfer Keegan Bell) who has outstanding range."

How good were things going for the Cards?

Reserve big man George Goode came in and scored his first points of the season after Chattanooga's Dontay Hampton ended UofL's big run with the Mocs' first field goal in more than five minutes.

Even 12th man Tim Henderson got into the act - Russ Smith actually faked like he was taking his warmup shirt off at one point - with more than 10 minutes remaining in the game.

Chris Smith, who scored 11 off the bench, put the Cards over 100, then Goode and Gorgui Dieng put the exclamation point on the victory with a double block in the final 30 seconds.

Siva, Jennings and Kuric tallied 13 points apiece, while Buckles, Marra and Chris Smith finished with 11.

"Our guys are a fun group to coach," Pitino said. "They're a fun group each day because they want to lear, want to get better. They play with extraordinary effort, and this was exciting for them to play against a team that wanted to run with them.

"They've really embraced the style, it's really helped us. We're having a lot of fun with it, but it starts with defense. We said we want to play like Loyola (Marymount) of years ago. We want to play great defense, and that's the key."

The Cards next host Marshall at 1 p.m. Saturday as they continue play in the Global Sports Shootout.

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