Sports

No. 3 Louisville cruises to 70-48 win over College of Charleston in 1st game in title defense

  • Louisville's Russ Smith goes in for a layup during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against the College of Charleston, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, in Louisville, Ky. Louisville defeated the College of Charleston 70-48. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

    Louisville's Russ Smith goes in for a layup during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against the College of Charleston, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, in Louisville, Ky. Louisville defeated the College of Charleston 70-48. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)  (The Associated Press)

  • Louisville's Montrezl Harrell, left, puts up a shot over the defense of the College of Charleston's David Wishon, front right, and Canyon Barry during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, in Louisville, Ky. Louisville defeated the College of Charleston 70-48. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

    Louisville's Montrezl Harrell, left, puts up a shot over the defense of the College of Charleston's David Wishon, front right, and Canyon Barry during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, in Louisville, Ky. Louisville defeated the College of Charleston 70-48. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)  (The Associated Press)

  • College of Charleston's Chad Cooke, right, attempts to drive around the defense of Louisville's Anton Gill during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

    College of Charleston's Chad Cooke, right, attempts to drive around the defense of Louisville's Anton Gill during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)  (The Associated Press)

Shaky at the start, No. 3 Louisville outscored College of Charleston 22-3 over the final 6:41 on Saturday to pull away to a 70-48 victory in the first game of its national championship defense.

Preseason All-America Russ Smith led Louisville with 21 points and five assists. His new backcourtmate Chris Jones, last season's junior college player of the year, added 12 points and five assists.

Charleston trailed 48-45 after freshman Canyon Barry's hit a 17-footer with 6:55 to play. Then Smith asserted himself, hitting two free throws and driving to find forwards Montrezl Harrell and Wayne Blackshear for easy baskets that gave the Cardinals a 54-45 lead with 5:05 left. Charleston scored again with 2:42 remaining, making it 61-47 and ending a 13-0 Louisville run.

Barry led Charleston with 10 points while Adjehi Baru added eight points and nine rebounds.

Louisville raised its third national championship banner to the rafters before the game.