Louisville, KY – Russ Smith netted a game-high 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting as No. 2 Louisville thumped Samford, 80-54, on Thursday in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament.
Wayne Blackshear scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds, while Chane Behanan contributed 12 points and game-high 18 rebounds for the Cardinals (2-0). Gorgui Dieng added 10 points and 13 boards in the victory.
"We played very good defense in the first half. Our pressure was good," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "Then, the second half, we watched the score and didn't play the type of defense we played, granted we didn't press, but we didn't play the type of defense we are capable of playing."
Tim Williams scored 15 points to go with six rebounds and Raijon Kelly donated 11 points for the Bulldogs (1-2), who shot just 39.1 percent from the field and turned the ball over 21 times in defeat.
Louisville completely dominated the opening 20 minutes. racing out to an 11-4 lead over the first five minutes of action.
Everything fell Louisville's way as the Cardinals extended the lead to 24-6 with a 13-2 outburst.
Louisville shot 41.7 percent from the floor in the half while holding Samford to just four field goals.
The Cardinals also dominated the glass by a 31-12 margin and netted 20 points off 16 Samford turnovers as the home side led by an outrageous 42-13 margin at halftime.
Samford picked it up in the second half, shooting 50 percent from the floor and making 8-of-15 from 3-point range.
The Bulldogs outscored Louisville 41-38 over the second 20 minutes, but the first-half deficit proved to be too large to overcome as the Cardinals rolled to an easy victory.
"I am proud of their second half effort, but we must become a tougher team," Samford coach Bennie Seltzer said. " I know Louisville was the second ranked team in the country, but you give up 28 offensive rebounds and it's hard to win, and hard to beat any team with that effort towards rebounding, so we have to become a much tougher team."
Thursday marked the first matchup between these two teams ... Louisville had a huge advantage on the glass, outrebounding Samford, 53-28, which led to 24 second-chance points.