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Connecticut vs Louisville

Louisville crushes UConn, claims share of AAC title

CBSSports.com wire reports
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Russ Smith really didn't care about being top scorer in his home finale with Louisville because passing to open teammates was the better choice.

The star guard is showing he can be pass-first when needed.

Just ask Cardinals forward Montrezl Harrell, who scored 20 points while Smith recorded a career-high 13 assists as No. 11 Louisville routed No. 19 Connecticut 81-48 on Saturday to claim a share of the American Athletic Conference championship.

The Cardinals (26-5, 15-3) finished tied with No. 15 Cincinnati atop the league. A postgame coin flip went to Cincinnati and left Louisville with the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament.

The Cardinals still got to hoist a trophy thanks to Smith's generosity.

''Russ does so much for our team,'' said Harrell, who added 11 rebounds and several thunderous dunks. ''He doesn't just worry about scoring. He had like [three] points tonight and 13 assists, so how does he not make us better? ... Right now, he's just worried about us winning, and that's what we need.''

Smith's performance was appreciated by a sellout crowd that gave him a standing ovation as he went to the bench with 4:22 left in the game. The reception capped a joyous day as he and fellow seniors Luke Hancock, Tim Henderson and Stephan Van Treese were honored as the program's winningest class.

Their achievements included winning last year's NCAA championship. All played key roles in Saturday's 116th win together.

Smith made just one of two shots but topped his previous assist high by two. Hancock added 16 points while Henderson added an early basket on feeds from Smith. Van Treese grabbed 13 rebounds.

''It was just getting the ball to my teammates to get the ball movement going,'' said Smith, whose audience included nine NBA scouts. ''When I looked at the film after the first UConn game, I was very sloppy with the rock. I wasn't handling the ball as well as I should have. I negated any discrepancy about turning the ball over. I just kicked it out to other teammates.''

Louisville's defense, meanwhile, frustrated the Huskies (24-7, 12-6) into season lows in scoring and shooting (29.4 percent) in completing the sweep. Their previous shooting low was 29.6 percent in a loss to SMU.

''I didn't see anything like this coming,'' said UConn coach Kevin Ollie, whose team still earned the No. 4 seed. ''And I'm glad it came because now we know how tough we have to be to be a champion.

''We weren't tough enough. We weren't together enough. Louisville took every opportunity to take advantage of it. ... That's what champions do.''

Wayne Blackshear added 11 points and Chris Jones 10 as Louisville won this matchup between two of the past three NCAA champions. While the defending champion Cardinals weren't always smooth in beating the Huskies, they shot 45 percent (26 of 58) from the field and mounted a couple of second-half runs to put the game out of reach.

DeAndre Daniels' 17 points led UConn, which had its four-game winning streak snapped and dropped to 0-4 at the KFC Yum! Center. Senior guard Shabazz Napier managed nine points on 2-of-13 shooting just days after scoring 26 points including a career-best seven 3-pointers in a win over Rutgers,

Emotion preceded the game as Louisville honored the seniors who helped earn the school's third national championship last spring. Smith as expected drew the loudest cheers from a red-clad sellout crowd as a montage of his and teammates' shining moments was played on the video screen, which included a shout-out from rapper Pit Bull.

Louisville's 30-18 lead at the break eventually grew to 34 with 91 seconds left to put fitting end to a fond farewell to the seniors -- especially Smith.

''It's a special class because for four years they totally did things for all the right reasons,'' Louisville coach Rick Pitino said.

Of Smith, he added, ''how would you ever imagine Russ Smith knowing on Senior Night he would pass up all opportunities to score and get 13 assists? That shows you how much he's grown. If any pro scouts wondered tonight whether he could be a point guard, I think the thing is all closed.''

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Scoreboard
Connecticut #19 (24-7)183048
Louisville #11 (26-5) «305181
UCONN:D. Daniels 17 Pts
UCONN:S. Napier 9 Reb
UCONN:R. Boatright 3 Ast
LVILLE:M. Harrell 20 Pts
LVILLE:S. Van Treese 13 Reb
LVILLE:R. Smith 13 Ast

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PLAYERS OF THE GAME
ConnecticutLouisville
UCONN
DeAndre Daniels
LVILLE
Montrezl Harrell
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
178020113
Connecticut Huskies
R. Boatright, G362-111-36325
S. Napier, G342-134-69109
D. Daniels, F306-124-480217
L. Kromah, G-F272-41-26025
A. Brimah, C182-32-41136
P. Nolan, F130-02-22042
T. Samuel, G130-10-02210
N. Giffey, G-F110-21-20031
O. Calhoun, G60-10-01110
K. Facey, F61-10-04033
T. Olander, F40-10-00050
L. Tolksdorf, F20-20-00000
R. Purvis, GDid Not Play
P. Lenehan, GDid Not Play
T. Watts, GDid Not Play
N. Amilo, FDid Not Play
Totals 15-5115-233982648
 29.4%65.2% 
Louisville Cardinals
M. Harrell, F328-154-7113220
R. Smith, G301-21-311313
S. Van Treese, F242-32-413016
L. Hancock, F225-112-431316
T. Henderson, G141-10-01112
C. Jones, G202-74-410110
W. Blackshear, G-F194-90-011211
M. Mathiang, F-C160-02-21032
T. Rozier, G143-82-32119
A. Gill, G50-20-20010
A. Agau, F20-00-01000
D. Levitch, G20-02-21002
C. Behanan, FDid Not Play
K. Ware, GDid Not Play
D. Avare, GDid Not Play
Totals 26-5819-3136201681
 44.8%61.3% 
American Athletic
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Connecticut0-03-013
So. Florida0-03-0137
Cincinnati0-02-0198
UCF0-02-0283
Houston0-01-018
E. Carolina0-02-1334
Temple0-02-14
Tulsa0-02-1263
Tulane0-01-1218
SMU0-01-2134
Memphis0-00-1103

ACC
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Duke0-04-030
Miami (Fla.)0-04-097
Virginia0-04-0133
Georgia Tech0-03-018
Louisville0-03-035
N.C. State0-03-067
Notre Dame0-03-0177
N. Carolina0-02-0103
Va. Tech0-02-032
Syracuse0-03-1217
Pittsburgh0-02-113
Boston College0-02-2102
Wake Forest0-02-212
Florida St.0-01-1140
Clemson0-01-2312
 
Other games
KAN 86 Final
WVU 92
UK 65 Final
FLA 84
SMU 58 Final
MEMP 67
CIN 70 Final
RUT 66
GU 59 Final
NOVA 77
OKST 81 Final
ISU 85
MOST 42 Final
WICH 67
ARIZ 57 Final
ORE 64
OKLA 97 Final
TCU 67
IND 80 Final
MICH 84
PROV 73 Final
CREI 88
ILL 66 Final
IOWA 63
UNC 81 Final
DUKE 93
NMEX 48 Final
SDSU 51