"While it didn't look good, it was a good win because we had to rely on our defense," said U of L head coach Rick Pitino.
The Cardinals struggled from the floor throughout the games first 20 minutes and saw an early 5-2 lead disappear when the Huskies connected on three consecutive three-pointers to fuel a 13-2 run. Louisville slowly closed Northeastern's 8 point lead and tied the game at 23 on a Brandon Jenkins three-pointer with 4:30 left in the first frame.
Louisville shot just 28.6% from the field during the first half, while Northeastern converted on 45.5% of it's attempts. While the Cardinals struggled from the field, freshman Jerry Smith, who was coming off of a 22-point performance against Miami, led U of L with 8 points during the opening half.
After trailing 27-25 at the break, the Cardinals shooting improved and a Jerry Smith three-pointer with less than 13 minutes remaining in the game gave U of L the lead for good at 32-31. Earl Clark and Will Scott also added three-pointers during a U of L 10-0 run, which gave the Cardinals a 42-32 advantage.
The seemingly customary thunderous dunk from Terrence Williams at the 4:33 mark gave the Cardinals a 50-37 lead. Williams finished the game with 9 points and 8 rebounds.
Jerry Smith led the Cardinals in scoring for the second consecutive game with 16 points and 8 rebounds, while David Padgett added 12. Led by Juan Palacios' 10 rebounds, U of L outdid Northeastern 44-25 on the glass.
"He's positive energy," Pitino said of Smith. "He's what we need."
U of L will host San Francisco on Thursday, December 28 at 7:00 p.m..