University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino opted to take his team up on the day of the game and return just after a 9 o'clock contest at Connecticut.
As it turns out, the day was long but very positive for the Cardinals.
Louisville led for much of the game, opened as much as a 16-point lead and decked Connecticut 76-64 for a key road victory on Saturday night.
"A great road win," said Pitino, whose team won for a third straight time since losing to Memphis. "A great road victory. This was big-time for us."
Louisville is now 16-3 on the season and 5-1 – along in second-place – in the American Athletic Conference. U of L's next game will be on Wednesday night against South Florida in Tampa, Fla.
But for now, this one was impressive.
U of L held UConn to 35.2 percent from the field, outrebounded the Huskies 45-30 and hit 26 of 57 from the field and 22 of 31 free throws in the game.
"This was a great collective effort," Pitino said. "We have been working extremely hard and the guys are getting confidence."
Russ Smith scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half as U of L beat UConn for the eighth time in the past nine meetings.
Montrezl Harrell had his fourth double-double of the season with 18 points and 13 rebounds, while Luke Hancock had 10 points and Wayne Blackshear chipped in nine points for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals played a second straight game without point guard Chris Jones, who is suffering from a strained oblique muscle in his right side.
"We are starting to play good basketball," Pitino said. "Our defense has picked up, our rebounding has picked up. We're playing good basketball."