"You have to give Russ a little latitude," Pitino said with a
smile. "But I love him to death. He's one of the best three guards
in the country."
Smith, who scored nine of Louisville's first 13 points, finished
with 24 points. He hit of 8-of-12 shots. He also had four rebounds,
four steals and three assists with no turnovers.
The crazy layup went in, by the way.
Louisville, which has won seven in a row, is 24-4, including 13-2
American Athletic Conference. Temple, which has lost three straight,
is 7-20, 2-13.
Forward Montrezl Harrell added 21 points for Louisville, going
9-of-12 from the field. Freshman guard Terry Rozier had a
career-high 19 points, and junior point guard Chris Jones had eight
assists and four steals.
Junior guard Will Cummings had 18 points and sophomore guard Quenton
DeCosey had 17 for Temple.
Louisville made 32-of-60 shots (53.3 percent), including 8-of-20
from 3-point range. Rozier and senior forward Luke Hancock each made
3-of-4 threes. Temple was 24-of-57 (42.1 percent), including 4-of-19
on 3-pointers (21.1 percent).
After Louisville's opening flurry, the Cards were never seriously
threatened. The closest Temple got was nine points at 30-21. The
Owls were done in by Louisville's superior quickness and Harrell's
power. He had five dunks and two blocks and altered several other
Louisville, which entered the game ranked third in the nation in
steals per game (9.6), had 13. Temple committed 17 turnovers in all,
to just nine for Louisville.
[to top of second column]
"We played great offensively, not so great defensively," said
Pitino. "But we got the win. I was really impressed with Terry
(Rozier) and Chris (Jones). They both had outstanding games."
Said Temple coach Fran Dunphy: "We turned it over 17 times. We were
averaging a little over 10. These guys, you have to really pay
attention to details. They really speed you up.
"As for Smith and Harrell, they can cause you tremendous damage.
They're really good. ... There are a couple of other guys who
stepped up and made plays as well, so it's not just those two (Smith
and Harrell), but they're terrific, no question about it."
Louisville, now tied with Cincinnati atop the AAC, has just one day
to prepare for a showdown at No. 21 Memphis on Saturday. The Tigers
beat Memphis 73-67 at Louisville on Jan. 9.
"That was our worst game of the year," Pitino said. "Memphis made us
look bad. But we're a different team now. We're playing much better
defense. We've got three straight tough games coming up (at No. 23
SMU on March 5 and at home against UConn on March 8 following
Memphis). But that's the way we want it. It's all about March.
"It's all about matchups this year. One night Kansas can look
unbeatable. Then they get beat. Same with Michigan State. That's why
gamblers have no money."
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.