WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | Sports

Pitino, Louisville bounce back 80-48 over Stetson

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Jerry Smith broke out of a shooting slump
to score 17 points and lead No. 20 Louisville to an 80-48 win over
Stetson on Wednesday night.
Samardo Samuels added 15 points and seven rebounds while Edgar
Sosa had 15 points and five assists for the Cardinals (5-1), who
had little trouble bouncing back from a loss to UNLV last Saturday.
A.J. Smith led the Hatters (2-5) with 18 points, but Stetson
shot 35 percent from the field and was simply no match for
Louisville once the Cardinals got going midway through the first
half.
Louisville used an 11-0 run to take control after a sluggish
start, holding the Hatters without a field goal for over 6 minutes.
The Cardinals led 37-21 at halftime and wasted little time pulling
away behind the revitalized Smith.
The senior came in shooting 30 percent from the field over his
last four games, but he was 6 of 8 from the field against the
Hatters while focusing on driving to the basket instead of settling
for 3-pointers.
It's a good sign for the Cardinals, who need Smith's leadership
to help calm a roster filled with freshmen and sophomores.
Coach Rick Pitino has been critical of Smith's shot selection in
recent weeks, saying he felt Smith was settling for too many
3-pointers whether he was open or not.
Smith spent extra time in the team's practice facility over the
last week to work out the kinks on his jumper, but it was his
determination to get to the basket that pleased his coach.
Smith wasted little time heeding Pitino's advice, getting fouled
on his way to the rim on Louisville's second possession then
immediately following it up with a layup while getting fouled.
Still, it took awhile for the Cardinals to get going against the
overmatched Hatters. Louisville led 13-10 7 minutes into the game
before coming to life behind Sosa and Smith.
The seniors sparked an 11-0 burst capped by another layup by
Smith as Louisville went up 24-10 and cruised from there.
It's exactly what Pitino was looking for following the tough
loss at UNLV, in which the Cardinals rallied from a 19-point
deficit to tie the game only to fall in the final minutes.
Pitino called the loss a learning experience for his young team
and said he was looking forward to an eight-game December homestand
to help get things corrected.
While the Cardinals only sporadically displayed the kind of
intensity Pitino expects, they were never in any danger against the
Hatters.
Louisville shot 62 percent from the field, made 15 of 20 free
throws and forced 18 turnovers. Ten of the 12 players who saw
action scored as Pitino experimented with his lineup liberally in
the second half.
The Cardinals played without injured guards Preston Knowles and
Peyton Siva, both of whom watched from the bench in street clothes.
Pitino expects them to be back for Saturday's game against
Charlotte.
The injuries forced Smith to play point guard when Sosa went to
the bench. He looked comfortable at times with the ball in his
hands and finished with three assists and three turnovers in 24
minutes.


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