Louisville, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - Wayne Blackshear stepped up in Montrezl Harrell's absence and scored a career-high 31 points to help No. 4 Louisville take down Cal State-Northridge, 80-55, in its final tune-up before Saturday's showdown with Kentucky.
Blackshear was given a larger role on Tuesday with Harrell, a preseason All- American, serving a one-game suspension and the senior delivered in a big way. Blackshear shot 11-for-17 from the floor, made six 3-pointers and pulled down six rebounds.
"He's a little streaky, but he shot the ball well today," said Northridge coach Reggie Theus. "Good for him, because I think he's a very good player and I think that's the one area where if he's more consistent, it's going to lengthen his career."
Terry Rozier added 16 points for the Cardinals (11-0), who will look to stay unbeaten when they host No. 1 Kentucky at the KFC Yum! Center this weekend.
Stephen Maxwell and Stephan Hicks posted 20 and 19 points, respectively, for Northridge (3-10).
Blackshear scored Louisville's first 13 points, hitting 5-for-5 -- including three 3-pointers -- in the game's first 4:14. Out of the first media timeout, Chris Jones entered the scoring column with two free throws and the Cardinals led 15-2.
But Maxwell's three-point play sparked a 7-0 run to keep Northridge within striking distance. The teams played to a relative draw the rest of the first half, and Louisville led 36-25 at the break.
Hicks converted a pair of three-point plays less than a minute apart around a Jones jumper, and the Matadors were within 49-41 at 13:49.
The spread was nine when David Levitch's trey started a 17-1 run that gave Louisville a 25-point lead, and it emptied the bench while rolling to a comfortable win.
"David Levitch was unbelievable," said Louisville coach Rick Pitino. "He gave us a big lift in terms of what we were doing. He made the shots and that was nice but he knew what to run."
Harrell was suspended for throwing an elbow during a scrum late in the first half of Louisville's win over Western Kentucky and will return for Saturday's game ... Louisville shot 11-for-27 from the 3-point line, while Northridge didn't make an outside shot in three tries ... Louisville is 11-0 for the second time in the last four seasons ... Theus coached at Louisville from 2003-05 ... Both teams scored 28 points in the paint.