Led by a game-high 24 points by senior All-American Russ Smith, the Cardinals cruised to its 24th victory of the season, defeating Temple 88-66 in front of a sold out KFC Yum! Center crowd of 21,312. Montrezl Harrell added 21 points and Terry Rozier contributed a career-high 19.
Here's a look back at a few key moments from Thursday nights AAC contest.
Turnovers & Layups
After a game-opening basket by the visiting Owls, the Cardinals used defense and the fast break attack to build an early lead. Four Temple turnovers led to three U of L layups. A block by Montrezl Harrell started the early Cardinal run. Chris Jones handed out four assists and Russ Smith scored 8 points as Louisville built an 11-point advantage out of the gate.
Louisville's run continued after the first media timeout. Smith added another bucket and Luke Hancock drained the the team's first three-pointer of the game en route to an 18 point lead. The Cardinals connected on 71% of their shot attempts during the game's first 9 minutes, while limiting Temple to just 25% from the floor. Louisville 24-6.
Despite the large early deficit, the Owls still had some fight. Temple guard Will Cummings scored five consecutive points, including a three-pointer during a brief run by the visitors. Montrezl Harrell brought an end to the Owls hopes of continuing the offensive spurt with a one of his multiple thunderous dunks. Louisville 26-13.
As both teams traded baskets over the next 5 minutes of play, Stephan Van Treese ignited another Cardinal run. The senior hustled after a loose ball on the Temple end of the floor, throwing the ball off an Owl defender as he was going out of bounds. Moments later Terry Rozier drained a three-pointer. Seconds later, Harrell grabbed a defensive rebound and tossed a full court pass to Rozier in the corner for his second trey of the game. Louisville 38-21.
The Owls continued to hang around during the first five minutes of the second half, but the Cardinals put the game out of reach during a seven minute stretch that saw the lead stretch to a 28-point advantage. A 23-10 run started when Luke Hancock hit a three-pointer off an assist by Smith. 30 seconds later a Rozier steal led to a Smith layup which pushed the lead to 20. Smith scored 9 points during the run, while Harrell – highlighted by a pair of dunks – added 8 points. Louisville 76-48.
Russ to No. 8
With his 24 points, Russ Smith into 8th place on the school's all-time scoring list. The senior, who now has 1,731 career points, surpassed Herbert Crook and Charlie Tyra with his efforts on Thursday night. It was Smith's ninth 20-point performance of the season. He has scored in double figures in 27 of 28 games this season.
Trio Nearly Wins
The offensive scoring from the trio of Smith, Harrell and Rozier nearly topped Temple. The three combined for 64 points, connecting on 25 of 35 field goal attempts. The threesome also pulled down a combined 12 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 steals.