Louisville Cruises By Morehead State, 73-49

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Jerry Smith broke out of a shooting slump with a season-high 17 points and Louisville overcame a sluggish first half to beat Morehead State 73-49 on Wednesday night.

Terrence Williams added 17 points and seven assists for the Cardinals (8-3), who used a 21-4 run at the beginning of the second half to put away the Eagles.

Morehead State, located about 140 miles east of Louisville, made the Cardinals work for their third straight victory. Kenneth Faried led the Eagles (4-7) with 11 points, and held his own for the most part against Louisville's Derrick Caracter.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino has criticized his team for its lack of intensity on defense, saying his players shouldn't let their shooting determine the effort on the other end of the court.

But it wasn't until the Cardinals got hot from 3-point range that their press finally got to the Eagles.

Andre McGee started the second half with a 3-pointer from the corner, and Smith sandwiched 3-pointers around a hook by Caracter to give the Cardinals a 41-30 lead. Smith hit another 3-pointer on Louisville's next trip and capped the run with an alley-oop lay-up on a pass from Edgar Sosa that put the Cardinals up 51-31.

Smith, who had made four 3-pointers total in his last five games, was 5-of-6 from behind the arc. Once the shots started to fall, Louisville's press started getting to the Eagles. Morehead State committed 22 turnovers and shot 35 percent in the second half.

Still, the Cardinals were hardly crisp. Louisville turned it over 15 times -- many simple mental miscues rather than the result of any defensive pressure -- and managed just a 32-26 rebounding edge despite a massive size advantage over the Eagles, who play in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Former heavyweight champion and Louisville native Muhammad Ali received a two-minute standing ovation when he was introduced during a timeout in the first half.

For awhile, it looked like it might be the night's only highlight for the Cardinals.

The Eagles hung around in the first half despite having trouble with Louisville's press. Faried, who didn't turn 18 until after the season began, gave Morehead a spark off the bench, scoring eight points on a couple of athletic dunks, a nifty jumper and a layup on an inbounds play when he quietly cut behind Caracter to the rim.

Louisville, meanwhile, hardly played like a team trying to move on after a slow start to the season. The Cardinals shot poorly and struggled to hold onto the ball. Williams scored the team's first nine points, but also committed an embarrassing turnover after collecting a steal at halfcourt. Williams checked behind him and raced to the rim as the crowd rose to its feet. The ball never got there, slipping out of Williams' right hand as he tried to cradle it.

Williams made amends after halftime, dunking on consecutive possessions during Louisville's early second-half run.

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