PHILADELPHIA — By the time the second half between Louisville and Temple started, the seats at the Liacouras Center were most empty and the end result was all but a formality.
Temple had no answer for No. 13 Louisville on Friday night on the offensive or defensive ends of the floor. The Cardinals rushed out to a 27-point halftime lead and coasted to an 82-58 victory behind sophomore forward Montezl Harrell’s career night.
Harrell finished with a career-high 22 points, tearing through the Temple frontcourt with a bevy of post moves and high-flying dunks in transition. The 6-foot-8 forward posted his fifth double-double of the season by grabbing 10 rebounds and tied his career high with four blocked shots.
Louisville’s scoring was not limited to Harrell. Senior guard Russ Smith had 15 points, junior forward Will Blackshear scored 13 and senior forward Luke Hancock finished with 11 to join Harrell in double figures.
Temple (6-17, 1-10 AAC), which came into the game as the only Division I team with four players averaging 14 or more points per game, saw just two, junior guard Will Cummings and junior forward Anthony Lee, reach double figures. Cummings finished with 16 points and Lee, who limped off the court in the second half, had 14.
The Owls shot just 37.3 percent from the field and the Cardinals (20-4, 9-2) shot 51.6 percent.
Louisville led 52-25 at halftime. The Cardinals were buoyed by a strong defensive performance and an offense that ran through Harrell and Hancock.
The Owls were held to 34.5 percent shooting from the floor, including 25 percent from beyond the 3-point line. Louisville, on the other hand, shot 62.5 percent from the field and 60 percent from 3-point range.
Louisville’s defense made Temple uncomfortable for the entire half, forcing the Owls into many bad shots. Temple committed eight first-half turnovers and Louisville had just two.
The Cardinals opened the game on a 21-9 run in the first nine minutes. Harrell scored 10 of his 15 first-half points in the first 8:06 of the game. He had two huge dunks, one come on an alley-oop from guard Chris Jones and the other coming off a Temple turnover.
Hancock finished the half with 11 points.
Temple, which struggled to get anything going offensively, got eight first-half points from Lee.
NOTES: Entering Friday’s game, Temple was the only team in Division I to have four players averaging 14 points or more per game. … Louisville ranks third in the nation in steals (9.6 per game) and turnover margin (6.7). … The game featured the American Athletic Conference’s first- and third-leading rebounders: Temple’s Anthony Lee (9.2 rpg) and Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell (8.2 rpg). … Temple last beat a ranked team on March 10, 2013, when it knocked off No. 21 Virginia Commonwealth.
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