Day After: Louisville runs past Western

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The 5th-ranked Cardinals dominated in-state rival Western Kentucky for nearly 40 minutes in Nashville on Saturday night. Cardinal Authority was at Bridgestone Arena and provides a few observations from the 78-55 win.

1. Making a point. During the later stages of the first half, Rick Pitino pulled a struggling Russ Smith from the game to stress the importance of hustling on every play. Smith, who shot just 1-of-7 from the floor in the first half, received a verbal assault from his coach for his lack of effort. Smith responded by putting together a strong second half performance, scoring 16 of his 20 points, including 11 from the charity stripe.

2. Harrell expanding his game. The freshman continues to become a force when on the floor for the Cardinals. Harrell's presence was felt at both the power forward and center positions against the Hilltoppers. In 27 minutes of action, he was a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor, including a trio of impressive dunks, while also recording 6 rebounds and 4 blocks.

3. Blackshear improving. Throughout the early stages of the season, Rick Pitino has stressed the need to receive more production from the three spot on the floor and if the last two games are an indicator, Blackshear is beginning to fill that void. The former McDonald's All-American, who has been working his way back from shoulder surgery, scored 17 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in the win over WKU. Blackshear says he's getting "more comfortable" on the floor and the numbers back it up. Over the past two games, he's shooting 56% from the floor and 50% (7-14) from beyond the three-point arc.

4. Notebook. Stephan Van Treese received his first start of the season… 10,728 attended the game at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena… with Peyton Siva struggling with foul trouble, sophomore Kevin Ware stepped in played well, drawing praise from Pitino afterwards… the team will practice on Sunday before breaking for the holidays…

5. Up next. The Cardinals will host in-state rival Kentucky on Saturday, December 29. "I feel good and I think we have a lot of upside," Pitino said of his team heading into the high-intensity game. "The only thing I know about [UK] is that someone told me that they have three players projected in the top ten [of the NBA draft]. I said this is not professional basketball, it's college basketball… that's irrelevant in terms of style for Louisville. I have not seen them play, except for one game that I saw for about 10 minutes."

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