LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Senior All-America guard Russ Smith scored 24 points, and No. 7 Louisville thumped Temple 88-66 Thursday night at the KFC Yum! Center.
The Cardinals (24-4, 13-2 American Athletic Conference) won their seventh straight game. Louisville allowed Temple to take a 2-0 lead, then scored 13 straight points and were never threatened thereafter.
The Owls (7-20, 2-13) lost their third game in a row.
Smith, who scored nine of Louisville’s first 13 points, hit of eight of 12 shots overall. Louisville sophomore forward Montrezl Harrell had 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting, and freshman guard Terry Rozier added a career-high 19. Junior point guard Chris Jones had eight assists.
Junior guard Will Cummings led Temple with 18 points, and sophomore guard Quenton DeCosey had 17.
Louisville made 32 of 60 shots (53.3 percent), including eight of 20 3-point shots. Temple was 24-for-57 (42.1 percent). Louisville, which ranks third in the country in steals per game (9.6), had 13. Temple made 17 turnovers to Louisville’s nine.
After Louisville’s opening flurry, the closest Temple got was 30-21. The Owls were done in by Louisville’s superior quickness and the inside power of Harrell, who had seven dunks.
Louisville led 42-29 at halftime after jumping out to a 24-6 advantage. Temple then went on a 9-2 run to close within 26-15, and it was 30-21 before the Cardinals scored eight straight points to lead 38-21.
Smith finished the half with 13 points. Harrell and Rozier each had 10 before the break. Cummings led Temple with 13 first-half points.
In the teams’ previous meeting, Louisville won 82-58 at Temple on Feb. 14.
NOTES: Louisville plays at No. 21 Memphis on Saturday in an important American Athletic Conference showdown. The game will be nationally televised. The Cardinals are tied for first place with Cincinnati. … Last-place Temple entertains Houston on Saturday night.
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