Key Moments: Dominating Senior Day

The 11th-ranked University of Louisville Cardinals won a share of the inaugural AAC regular season conference title convincingly on Saturday. Cardinal Authority provides a look at some of the key moments from the 81-48 win over No. 19 Connecticut on Senior Day.

With a conference title on the line, the 11th-ranked Cardinals dominated No. 19 Connecticut on Senior Day at the KFC Yum! Center.

Louisville received great play from every one that stepped on the floor. The Cardinals used a dominating defense and an exciting offense to roll over the Huskies 81-48 on Saturday afternoon. Here's a look at a few key moments from the game.

Senior Day Start
Rick Pitino gave all four seniors the start and they all contributed immediately.

Stephan Van Treese scored the games first points on a rebound and layup. Making his first career start, Tim Henderson was next to score, sinking a jumper to give the Cardinals a quick 4-0 lead. Following a pair of Husky free throws, Montrezl Harrell scored on a layup off the first of many assists dished out by senior Russ Smith. Less than a minute later, after a steal by Harrell, Smith handed out his second assist when he found senior Luke Hancock for a layup, and one. Hancock's free throw gave Louisville an early edge at the first media timeout. Louisville 10-2.

UConn Field Goal Woes
The Louisville defense was dominate throughout the game, forcing 22 turnovers. The Huskies struggled offensively from the tip and connected on just 5 of 25 first half field goal attempts. The visitors missed their first seven shots and didn't convert a field goal attempt until 7 ½ minutes had ticked off the clock. A jumper by DeAndre Daniels didn't end the drought, as UConn went another 4 minutes before making another.

Louisville's offense was busy putting together a highlight reel while the Huskies missed shot after shot. A dunk by Harrell, off a Rozier assist, and a layup by Rozier increased the Cardinals lead to 12 and drew a timeout from the Huskies bench with 12 minutes remaining. To make things worse, the Huskies committed three consecutive turnovers out of the time out. Another jumper by Daniels with 9:20 remaining the first brought UConn back within 10. Louisville 17-7.

1st Half Close
UConn pulled within 6 on a dunk by Amida Brimah with 8:13 remaining, but any hope of a comeback was short-lived. A three-pointer by Chris Jones, who scored 10 points in the win, ignited a 13-7 run to end the first half. Wayne Blackshear contributed a dunk and three-pointer in the strong end of half finish. Louisville 30-18.

2nd Half Open
A foul by Harrell and a turnover from Smith brought Pitino off the bench signaling for a timeout just 41 seconds into the second half. A three-pointer by UConn's Shabazz Napier after the 30 second timeout pulled the Huskies to within 7 just 1:05 after the break. Louisville 30-23.

SVT Spark
After trading free throws and buckets for the next two minutes, Van Treese fought for one of his season-high 13 rebounds and scored on a put back that drew the sold out crowd to their feet with chants of "SVT! SVT!". The spark ignited a run that pushed the Cardinals lead to 17 points with 15:28 to play.

Jones connected for his second three-pointer of the game and Harrell added four, including one of his six dunks, during a 9-0 run. Louisville 44-27.

Boom!
Clearly in command of the game with 13:33 remaining in the game, the Cardinals exploded for one of their signature "boom" moments to put the game completely out of reach.

Holding a 12 point lead, Louisville outscored UConn 37-16 for the remainder of the contest. The actual "boom" occurred during a five minute long run that saw U of L's lead balloon to 65-38 with 8:04 remaining.

5 steals, three by Smith, led to five consecutive baskets, including a pair of three-pointers and another Harrell dunk. A trio of three-pointers from Hancock continued the run. Louisville held it's largest lead of the game with 1:31 left after walk-on freshman David Levitch connected on a pair of free throws. Louisville 79-45.

Russ Assists
Further cementing himself as one of the nation's elite players, Russ Smith literally handed the ball to others during his final game at home. Only days removed from a 26-point outing, the senior attempted just two shots, making one, on Saturday afternoon. Instead, he handed out a career-high 13 assists.

It marked the 16th time this season Smith recorded five or more assists in a game. He has registered five or more in four of his last five games and has 23 in the last three contests. His previous career-high for assists was 11 versus UMKC on Dec. 4, 2013.


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