No.5 Louisville blows out Rutgers
Memphis, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Chris Jones supplied 18 points and six steals as fifth-ranked Louisville embarrassed Rutgers, 92-31, to reach the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.
Russ Smith netted 16 points with five assists, Terry Rozier had 14 points off the bench while Luke Hancock and Montrezl Harrel scored 13 apiece. Louisville (27-5) forced 26 turnovers which led to 44 points in the romp.
"It was one of those nights where everything went really well for us and nothing went right for them. We got a chance to play everybody and rest our legs. Anytime you play in a tournament where there is a potential for three games in a row, the more you can play your bench the better you will be," said Louisville coach Rick Pitino.
The Cardinals will take on Houston, which was a surprise winner over No. 25 SMU earlier, in the semis.
Myles Mack scored eight points and Kadeem Jack had seven with six rebounds for Rutgers (12-21), which led 7-6 early on before Louisville closed out the first half on a 52-9 run.
"It was a very disappointing performance for us. A game like that really tests your character, and they're a good team, top-5 in the country," said Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan. "They've been to the top of the mountain and we're starting from the bottom of the mountain and we want to get to where they are."
The Scarlet Knights edged South Florida, 72-68, in the opening round on Wednesday.
Mack's triple at 16:47 boosted Rutgers to a 7-6 lead before Louisville began a stretch that blew the game open.
Rozier scored five straight and Jones added a trey during the Cardinals' 13-0 flurry, which Smith capped with a jumper for a 26-10 margin.
A pair of Jack jumpers were the only points Rutgers mustered over the final 7:34 of the stanza, while Louisville got whatever it wanted offensively. Rozier's three-point play 1:24 before halftime put the finishing touches on a dominant first 20 minutes with the Cards on top, 58-16.
The Scarlet Knights scored six straight to open the second half, but Hancock's 3-ball four minutes in re-ignited the Louisville attack.
The final spread was the largest margin of victory between conference opponents this season.
Louisville has won 10 of its last 11 games ... The Cardinals outscored Rutgers 194-85 in the last two meetings ... Louisville improved to 21-3 in the month of March since 2012 ... Louisville outscored Rutgers 38-12 in the paint and 30-4 in transition ... Jack turned it over seven times ... Rutgers shot just 12-of-50 (24 percent) from the floor.