Miami, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Russ Smith scored a game-high 18 points to help lead the No. 6 Louisville Cardinals to a comfortable 85-56 win over FIU at U.S. Century Bank Arena on Saturday.
Wayne Blackshear tallied 13 points and Montrezl Harrell chipped in with 10 points for the Cardinals (11-1), who play at intrastate rival Kentucky next Saturday.
"We didn't play great basketball tonight, but we played good offense," Pitino said. "We were a little inept at times on defense, but offensively we did a good job in sharing the basketball and making sure that we did the right things to attack their changing defenses."
Formal Cardinal Rakeem Buckles had 13 points and nine rebounds, while Tymell Murphy led the Panthers (8-5) with 16 points. Jerome Frink finished with 10 for Florida International.
"We played against a very good basketball team," FIU coach Anthony Evans said. "I think their depth wore us down a little bit and they finished the game."
Murphy's free throw kept the Panthers within one at the 14:13 mark of the first half, but Louisville used a 12-0 run to take a 22-9 lead with 10:22 to play in the half.
The Panthers responded by scoring 10 of the next 12 to climb back within five with 3:06 remaining in the half, but the Cardinals answered by scoring the final nine of the frame.
Chris Jones lobbed an alley-oop pass from beyond-the-arc to Harrell, who threw down a dunk to end the half and extend the lead to 39-25.
A series of Louisville 3-pointers by Luke Hancock and Terry Rozier gave the Cards a 54-32 advantage at the 12:56 mark in the second and they coasted the rest of the way.
The Cardinals shot 54.2 percent (13-24) from beyond the arc. The final margin was Louisville's largest lead of the game.
The Golden Panthers are 0-22 all-time against ranked opponents ... FIU committed 20 turnovers.