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Rozier, Harrell lead Louisville to victory

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CORAL GABLES, Fla. — This was a working vacation for Louisville — and a successful one at that.

The ninth-ranked Cardinals, who got points from just four players, defeated the Miami Hurricanes 63-55 on Tuesday night at the BankUnited Center.

Guard Terry Rozier had a game-high 22 points, forward Montrezl Harrell had 18 points, nine rebounds and two blocks, and guard Chris Jones added 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists. The only other Louisville scorer was forward Wayne Blackshear (seven points).

But those four scorers were enough for the Cardinals (19-3, 7-2 ACC) to earn win their fourth win in a row.

“We took this as a business trip but also as a vacation,” Jones said of the Cardinals, who had an extra day off before the game and are now 7-1 away from home this season. “A lot of the guys went to the beach and to the mall. Coach (Rick Pitino) believes in us.”

Pitino said after the game that he enjoys Miami, too — he said he has four season tickets behind the visiting dugout at Miami Marlins baseball games.

In keeping with the local theme, Pitino compared Rozier to Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade.

“Terry is the ultimate pro — he’s D-Wade Jr.,” Pitino said.

Still, as enjoyable as this trip was for the Cardinals, things got a little sticky in the second half when their lead — which had been as much as 13 points early in the game — got cut to three at 53-50 with 2:06 left.

But the Hurricanes (14-8, 4-5 ACC) could get no closer. Blackshear responded with a jumper with 1:50 remaining to regain momentum, and Miami lost its third straight game.

A big reason why Miami got back in the game was the play of shooting guard Davon Reed, who responded to being benched by hitting his first seven shots, including five 3-pointers.

Reed, who finished with a career-high-tying 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting, hit three straight 3-pointers midway through the second half to cut the Hurricanes’ deficit to 41-37.

“I thought we had ’em,” Reed said.

But Louisville isn’t easy to knock off, and no one proved that more than Harrell, who took two hard hits — one in each half — before getting back up each time.

Pitino said he was not surprised at Harrell’s toughness.

“His motor is unbelievable. He goes after every loose ball,” Pitino said. “He’s really improved his mid-range game — he’s dying to be Steph Curry (of the Golden State Warriors). I told him, ‘Hit the mid-range jump shot and play like the intense warrior you’ve been the past two years.'”

Pitino said when Miami started guard Manu Lecomte — who is a better ball-handler — over Reed, he decided not to press, which is normally a big part of Louisville’s game.

But, as it turned out, the Cardinals didn’t need their pressure defense. Louisville shot 68.2 percent in the first half, taking a 35-26 lead at the break.

“In the first half, we couldn’t stop them,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said.

For the game, Louisville shot 47.9 percent. Miami, which never led, shot 34 percent.

Slumping Miami point guard Angel Rodriguez had six points on 2-for-9 shooting. In the past four games, he has made just 7 of 39 shots from the floor.

Louisville also held Miami shooting guard Sheldon McClellan to six points – he went 2 of 5 from the floor.

“We needed Angel and Sheldon to have big-time games,” Larranaga said. “Unfortunately, between the two of them they were a combined 4 of 14 and 0 for 4 from three. We need to shoot the ball better.

“Sheldon was very uncertain tonight. He had chances to drive, and he passed up on them.”

NOTES: After two losses last week, Miami went from No. 23 in the nation to out of the Associated Press Top 25 and not among the 20 other schools that received votes. … Three of the four active coaches who have won multiple NCAA titles are in the ACC — Louisville’s Rick Pitino, North Carolina’s Roy Williams and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski. The fourth is from the SEC, Florida’s Billy Donovan. … Entering Tuesday,

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

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