Louisville, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - Montrezl Harrell scored 17 points on 6- of-7 shooting and No. 6 Louisville dominated from start-to-finish in a 90-60 blowout of Missouri State at the KFC Yum! Center.
Russ Smith, Terry Rozier and Wayne Blackshear each contributed 11 points to help the Cardinals (10-1) cap off a 5-0 homestand that followed their only loss of the season, a 93-84 setback to North Carolina on Nov. 24.
Smith added eight assists and Louisville outrebounded the Bears by a 51-30 margin en route to the easy win. Mangok Mathiang pulled down nine boards and Harrell and Rozier had eight apiece.
"I don't know what was better, the defense, the offense or the offensive rebounding," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "It was just awesome in the first half. Missouri State is a good basketball team. Outside of free throw shooting, we played a great game in every phase of the game."
Missouri State (8-2) shot just 37.9 percent from the field and had one player score in double figures, with Jamar Gulley posting 14 points.
"It's got to be a major learning tool for our guys," Missouri State coach Paul Lusk said. "I thought we were a little bit on our heels at first, but we've got to grow from it and get better."
The Cardinals assumed control with a 22-2 first-half run and never let Missouri State back in the game thereafter, building a lead as much as 26 points in the opening period and entering the half owning a commanding 47-24 advantage.
Louisville's patented pressure defense fueled the big early spurt, with the Cardinals causing five turnovers and holding the Bears scoreless for nearly seven minutes to go up by a 25-6 count just past the midway mark of the first half. Seven different Louisville players scored during the one-sided sequence.
The Cardinals shot 54.5 percent from the floor during the opening 20 minutes, while scoring nine points off seven Missouri State miscues.
Missouri State was able to whittle the deficit down to 62-45 with 11 minutes left to play, before a Rozier 3-pointer ignited a 15-2 stretch that Harrell capped with a layup to put the Cardinals up 77-47 with 6:06 remaining.
Chris Jones, Louisville's second-leading scorer on the season, returned from a sprained wrist that kept him out of Saturday's win over Western Kentucky to produce nine points in 13 minutes off the bench ... The schools were meeting for only the second time ever, with the Cardinals taking the previous encounter by a 74-56 score in the 2006 NIT Tournament ... Louisville's next home game will come against Memphis on Jan. 9, with the 23-day span the Cardinals' longest period between home dates since the 1980-81 season.