First Posted: 12/7/2013
(AP) Montrezl Harrell scored 20 points and No. 7 Louisville beat Louisiana-Lafayette 113-74 on Saturday.
What looked like a challenge midway through the first half for the Cardinals (8-1) ended with them reaching a season high for points, helped by 38-of-62 shooting from the field (61 percent). The Ragin’ Cajuns (6-3) rallied from an 18-9 deficit to grab the last of several small leads at 41-39 before Louisville turned up the intensity on both ends.
The Ragin’ Cajuns cooled off from 61 percent in the first half to shoot 7 of 31 in the second half.
Harrell led six Cardinals in double figures as Chris Jones added 19 points, Russ Smith 16, Wayne Blackshear 15, Terry Rozier 11 and Luke Hancock 10 to reach 1,000 in his career.
Shawn Long’s 25 points led ULL, which finished 9 of 26 from 3-point range but just 26 of 62 from the field (42 percent). Kasey Sheperd added 18 and Elfrid Payton 12 for the Ragin’ Cajuns, who were outscored 60-34 in the paint.
Louisville improved to 9-0 against ULL, the first of two straight Sun Belt Conference foes. The Cardinals host Western Kentucky next Saturday.
There was certainly room for the Cardinals to improve despite romping over Missouri-Kansas City on Wednesday. While the Cardinals owned many statistical categories as expected in their 28-point win, they also allowed the Kangaroos to shoot 46 percent from the field.
That statistic, along with his team’s sometimes flat play at times, left Pitino concerned about their concentration and intensity against a Ragin’ Cajuns squad coming off an 89-80 win over Louisiana Tech. ULL got the Cardinals’ attention in a high-scoring, fast-paced first half where both teams shot well.
The Ragin’ Cajuns hit 7 of 10 from 3-point range and 19 of 31 overall while Louisville worked the ball around floor in shooting 71 percent (20 of 28) for a hard-earned 54-47 lead at the break.
Helped by five 3-pointers over six-plus minutes, ULL rallied from an 18-9 deficit with a 23-14 run for a 32-all game with 7:35 left. That opened up other areas for the Ragin’ Cajuns, who seemed unfazed by any of Louisville’s defensive looks in leading four times after that.
J.J. Davenport, ULL’s 6-foot-6, 325-pound reserve forward, pushed his weight around to contribute a couple of layups during the run. Sheperd added five points including a 3-pointer while Long put the finishing touches on a 16-point half with his second from long range.
Louisville responded with crisp play down the stretch that helped them stay even before taking a 54-47 lead into the locker room with a 13-6 closing run. The Cardinals followed with a 21-9 run in the first 6:03 of the second half for a 75-54 lead, reaching 90 points with 10 minutes and stretching their lead to 30 a couple of minutes later.
Louisville also scored 32 points off 17 turnovers while out-rebounding ULL 41-29.