Recap: Louisville vs. Coll of Charleston
Louisville, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - Russ Smith posted 21 points and five assists, as No. 3 Louisville used a second-half surge to take down College of Charleston, 70-48, in the season opener for both programs on Saturday.
Chris Jones totaled 12 points and six boards for the Cardinals (1-0), the defending national champions who next take on Hofstra Tuesday in the Hall of Fame Tipoff.
Wayne Blackshear picked up 11 points and six rebounds, while Montrezl Harrell added 10 and eight boards to the win.
Canyon Barry was the lone player in double figures, scoring 10 points for the Cougars (0-1), who trailed by two at halftime and kept things close before fading away late. Adjehi Baru had eight points and nine boards in defeat.
"We just have a lot to build on. It is going to be a great year for us," College of Charleston head coach Doug Wojcik said.
Barry's shot with 6:55 to play pulled Charleston within 48-45, but Smith sank two from the charity stripe on the next trip down the court and Louisville finally began to assert itself.
Harrell followed with a layup, Blackshear added a slam, then Jones connected on a jumper. A short time later, Blackshear drained a triple to cap a 13-0 surge for a 61-45 margin with 3:06 on the clock.
Joe Chealey was the lone answer for the visitors, then Smith's bucket began an game-ending 9-1 run to account for the final margin.
The banner for the program's first national title since 1986 was raised to the rafters, but the hosts came out sluggishly.
Baru's jumper gave Charleston a 9-8 edge early on, and it was 21-20 when Chealey completed a three-point play with 6:35 left in the half. Anthony Stitt sank two free throws almost three minutes later and the Cougars were up 25-22, but the Cardinals rallied to take a slim 29-27 edge at the break.
"I knew this was going to be a tough ball game," Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said. "The second half showed more of the qualities we saw last year with a hungry, humble team."Game Notes
Louisville has won all four meetings with Charleston ... The Cardinals
improved to 47-12 all-time in season openers on their home court and have
taken 10 straight season openers and 19 of 21 overall ... Dating
back to last season, Louisville has won 17 straight games.