LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Even a case of tired legs wasn't going to stop No. 9 Louisville.
Freshman Samardo Samuels scored 15 points and Earl Clark added six points, six rebounds and five assists to lead the Cardinals to a 78-56 victory over Lamar on Monday night in the final game of the Marques Maybin Classic.
Louisville (5-1) won its third game in three days by outlasting Lamar, though it made the Cardinals work for it.
Louisville had won its previous two games in the round-robin tournament by a combined 75 points. Things weren't quite so easy against Lamar, which hung around until late in the second half before Samuels and Clark — the event's MVP — helped Louisville pull away.
Jay Brown had 16 points and eight rebounds and Kenny Dawkins added 14 points for Lamar (6-3), which was held to a season-low point total and shot 35 percent from the field.
The Cardinals had overwhelmed Ohio and Indiana State in easy victories on Saturday and Sunday, but Lamar proved to be a tougher out.
While Lamar had even more reason to be exhausted — playing its fourth road game in six days — the Southland Conference school seemed to be plenty fresh for the game's first 35 minutes.
A night after Louisville played what coach Rick Pitino called its best game of the season in a rout over Ohio, his team wasn't quite as sharp. The Cardinals forced passes, missed easy shots and couldn't convert at the free throw line. Louisville was 13-of-24 at the line and turned it over 14 times.
Lamar's speed allowed it to keep it interesting well into the second half and put together a 9-2 run that closed the gap to 55-42 with 8:43 remaining, forcing an irate Pitino to call a timeout.
Louisville responded with a 15-4 burst featuring Samuels. The talented rookie made two layups during the run and, even better, took an offensive charge for the second straight game. He dug and took a hit from Lamar's Skyler Williams, got the call and then bounded up as Pitino applauded.
It was one of the few times Pitino cracked a smile during a sloppy second half. Louisville threw away several opportunities to blow the game wide open as several Cardinals got a little too fancy while running the break.
Still, Louisville's depth was just a little too much. All 13 Louisville players saw time and all but one scored.
The three-day event is named for Maybin, a former Louisville star who was paralyzed below the waist following a motorcycle accident in 2003. Maybin watched the game from a seat along the baseline near the Louisville bench and received a standing ovation when introduced in the second half.