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Louisville 92, Rutgers 31

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The No. 5 Louisville Cardinals cruised to a 92-31 victory over Rutgers on Thursday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference at FedExForum.

Louisville (27-5), the tournament’s No. 2 seed, will face No. 6 seed Houston in the semifinals on Friday after the Cougars upset 25th-ranked and No. 3 seed SMU.

Guard Chris Jones led Louisville with 18 points (4-for-7 from 3-point range), six steals, five rebounds, four assists and a block. Guard Russ Smith had 16 points and five assists, and guard Terry Rozier had 14 points and three assists off the bench.

Rutgers (12-21) scored the fewest points it had all season and the 31 points represented a low for Louisville opponents. The Cardinals held Rutgers to 24 percent shooting from the field, had 19 steals and forced 26 turnovers. Louisville outrebounded Rutgers 50-33.

No Rutgers player scored in double figures. The Scarlet Knights were led by guard Myles Mack with eight points.

Rutgers was competitive but a brief time. A 3-pointer from forward J.J. Moore cut Louisville’s lead to 13-10 with 14:06 to play in the first half. The Cardinals then outscored Rutgers 45-6 the remainder of the half and carried a 58-16 lead into the break.

Rutgers had more turnovers (17) than points through the first 20 minutes and Louisville scored 31 points off those turnovers. The Cardinals pressed some, but many of the turnovers came when the Scarlet Knights tried to drive, left their feet and threw the ball to other team.

During Louisville’s 45-6 run in the last 14 minutes of the first half, center Kadeem Jack (six points) made three field goals for all of Rutgers’ scoring.

The Cardinals got to the free-throw line at will in the first half, making 17-of-23, and Rutgers failed to attempt a single free throw.

NOTES: By defeating South Florida 72-68 in the first round of the AAC Tournament, Rutgers broke a two-year streak of losing its opening game in postseason conference tournaments after losing its first game in the Big East the previous two years. … Junior G Myles Mack scored 16 points in the win over USF, his 26th double-digit scoring game of the season. … Louisville swept the season series, beating Rutgers 83-76 and 102-54. … Cardinals sophomore F Montrezl Harrell was named the AAC’s Most Improved Player after averaging 14.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. … Louisville coach Rick Pitino has a career 46-13 record in conference tournaments.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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