It wasn't quite the complete performance that Louisville fans were hoping to see after Thursday's loss to Memphis, but the end it was still the win the Cardinals had to have.
U of L dominated the first half against SMU on Saturday afternoon, but then allowed the visiting Mustangs to make things very uncomfortable for the home crowd. In the end, however, the three-headed monster of Russ Smith, Luke Hancock and Montezl Harrell lifted Louisville to its 14th win of the season via a 71-63 triumph.
Hancock continued to be a different player since losing his undershirt in the New Year's Eve win over Central Florida, scoring a much-needed 19 of his career-high 23 points in the second half. It was the second straight game of 20 or more points for Luke, who is now averaging 18.5 ppg in AAC play. Smith matched Hancock's point total while also handing out four assists and recording four steals. Harrell notched his second straight double-double with a 12 points, 11 rebound effort.
The Cardinals played nearly the entire second half without Chris Jones, who sat after the same hip injury that appeared to bother him against Memphis flared up again. His absence meant more minutes for Terry Rozier, who responded with eight points and five rebounds.
It was another rough outing for the non-Trez U of L frontcourt, as both Stephan Van Treese and Mangok Mathiang were held out of the starting lineup for the first time this season, and combined for zero points and four rebounds in 32 minutes. Wayne Blackshear also struggled, scoring three points and grabbing five rebounds while playing just 16 minutes before fouling out. For the game, SMU outrebounded Louisville 48-35, and owned a 20-6 advantage in offensive rebounding.
Next up for the Cardinals is Houston and the the moment when Chicken will finally come to the Bucket. I'm not ready to think about it yet.
For now, here's your final box score:
Southern Methodist Mustangs
|Markus Kennedy, F||24||5-12||0-1||2-3||4||4||8||0||3||0||2||5||12|
|Shawn Williams, F||13||4-5||0-0||2-2||2||2||4||0||0||0||0||3||10|
|Sterling Brown, G||26||1-8||0-1||1-5||3||4||7||3||2||1||3||2||3|
|Nic Moore, G||29||2-8||0-4||1-3||2||3||5||4||1||0||2||3||5|
|Nick Russell, G||33||3-8||2-2||1-2||0||5||5||2||0||0||3||1||9|
|Ben Moore, F||19||3-5||0-0||3-5||3||4||7||1||0||0||1||4||9|
|Cannen Cunningham, C||21||4-5||0-1||0-0||1||3||4||1||1||0||3||0||8|
|Ryan Manuel, G||17||2-8||0-0||3-5||3||1||4||0||0||1||0||1||7|
|Keith Frazier, G||15||0-5||0-2||0-0||0||2||2||1||0||0||2||2||0|
|Crandall Head, G||3||0-1||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||0|
|Luke Hancock, F||26||8-15||4-9||3-4||0||2||2||0||1||0||2||3||23|
|Montrezl Harrell, F||38||5-8||0-0||2-7||2||11||13||1||0||4||2||2||12|
|Russ Smith, G||38||7-16||3-5||6-7||2||3||5||7||4||0||4||2||23|
|Wayne Blackshear, G||16||1-3||1-3||0-1||0||4||4||1||1||0||0||5||3|
|Chris Jones, G||14||1-2||0-1||0-0||0||0||0||3||1||0||2||2||2|
|Stephan Van Treese, F||21||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||2||2||2||2||0||3||3||0|
|Mangok Mathiang, F||11||0-0||0-0||0-0||1||1||2||1||0||2||2||2||0|
|Terry Rozier, G||28||3-7||2-3||0-2||1||4||5||1||1||0||0||1||8|
|Tim Henderson, G||8||0-2||0-2||0-0||0||2||2||0||0||0||0||1||0|