Louisville outlasts St. John’s Red Storm
by Steve Jones, USA TODAY Sports
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — This one didn’t go down to the wire, and 40 minutes proved to be plenty of time to put away this particular University of Louisville opponent.
Russ Smith scored 21 of his 24 points after halftime to lead the No. 12 Cardinals past St. John’s 72-58 on Thursday night at the KFC Yum! Center and help shake off the disappointment of last Saturday’s five-overtime defeat at Notre Dame.
Smith, who made a series of questionable plays down the stretch against the Irish, was aggressive and effective after hafltime against St. John’s (15-10, 7-6 Big East Conference).
His 12 points in the middle of the half helped the Cards fend off the Red Storm’s run, and his eight points in the final four minutes helped put the game out of reach.
U of L (20-5, 8-4) also got 12 points, six assists and four rebounds from Peyton Siva, 10 points and 17 rebounds from Gorgui Dieng and 10 points and eight rebounds from Chane Behanan.
The Red Storm, which was coached by assistant Rico Hines while head coach Steve Lavin tended to matters related to the recent death of his father, was led by Phil Greene IV’s 21 points. D’Angelo Harrison added 18.
St. John’s used a 10-0 run out of halftime to quickly erase a 32-23 deficit and take a 33-32 lead, but Smith and the Cards responded.
Wayne Blackshear, who didn’t start the game after a scoreless effort against Notre Dame, made two free throws, and then Smith scored 12 points in three minutes to put the Cards ahead 46-38. He ignited the crowd by hitting two 3-pointers, diving for a loose ball, scoring on a 10-foot bank shot from the left side, two foul shots and a difficult one-handed leaner in the lane.
U of L’s Montrezl Harrell and St. John’s Sir’Dominic Pointer each received a technical foul after a dust-up following a fast break in which Harrell lost the ball.
The Cards made two free throws, and the Red Storm one, and U of L added a basket from Gorgui Dieng to go ahead 50-39.
Then Harrell made up for dropping the previous … [For more on No. 12 Louisville Cardinals outlast St. John's Red Storm, click here.]