Following up their season-high performance of 25 offensive rebounds against Louisiana-Lafayette on Wednesday night, the Cardinals corralled 23 offensive caroms on their way to a 79-53 win over the Highlanders in front of 19,265 fans at Freedom Hall two days after Christmas.
"Well obviously when you offensive rebound like we did it's a second offense for you," said UofL coach Rick Pitino, whose team outrebound Radford 23-12 on the offensive end and outscored the Highlanders 25-17 in second-chance points. "Our rebounding effort was terrific tonight."
Once again the sophomore tandem of Samardo Samuels and Kyle Kuric led the onslaught of the backboards. Samuels, the 6-foot-9 center, followed up his 29-point, 15-rebound performance against the Ragin' Cajuns with 18 & 14 against Radford (5-5), the preseason pick in the Big South Conference. Meanwhile Kuric, the 6-4 guard, backed up his 13 & 7 game against Louisiana-Lafayette with six and nine Sunday.
"Kyle and Mardo were treating every shot like it was a pass to them," Pitino said.
Samuels hit 7 of 16 shots and 4 of 6 from the foul line and grabbed five offensive rebounds and nine on the defensive end to collect his fourth double-double of the season, and his second in a row. And he did it gainst 6-11 Radford center Art Parakhouski, the nation's leading rebounded (14 per game) and ninth-leading scorer (22.7 points per game) who earlier this season had 24 & 14 versus Duke and 21 & 13 against Kansas.
"He knew there were 15 pro scouts here to watch that one kid," senior guard Edgar Sosa said of Samuels. "(And lately) he's more upbeat, I think it's because his family is here, he's been all smiles since they've been here."
Samuels, though, shook that talk off like he did Parakhouski much of the game.
"I'm just playing basketball," he said.
Samuels keyed the Cards' 12-0 run midway through the first half that gave them control of the game. He scored nine points in the spurt. He started the surge with an inside basket that gave UofL a 17-11 lead with 10:30 to play in the half. He followed that up with a tip-in of his own miss. Rakeem Buckles hit one free throw and Kuric scored off an offensive rebound before Samuels ended the run with an old-fashioned three-point play and a layup to give the Cards a 27-11 lead.
UofL (9-3) led 37-20 at halftime behind 11 points and nine rebounds from Samuels and nine points from Reginald Delk, who hit three threes. The Cards outrebounded Radford 27-13, including 13-3 on the offensive end for an 11-2 advantage in second-chance points, in the first 20 minutes. Samuels opened up the second-half scoring with a basket as the Cards continued to build their lead.
Sophomore forward Jared Swopshire added 13 points and six rebounds, while sophomore center Terrence Jennings added 11 points and two rebounds in his return after sitting out Wednesday's game due to a violation of team rules.
UofL shot 42.3 percent (30 of 71) from the field, while holding Radford to 36.5 percent (19 of 52) shooting. Parakhouski led the Highlanders with 14 points and eight rebounds in 38 minutes of action. The Cards begin defense of their Big East Conference title on Wednesday night. That's when they open up Big East play against South Florida at 7 p.m. in the last of eight straight home games for UofL.
"We're not where I want to be, that's the good thing and that's the bad thing, but we have so much growth left in us," Pitino said.