Smith leads balanced effort as No. 14 Louisville tops Houston
Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Russ Smith led four Louisville players in double figures with 17 points, and the 14th-ranked Cardinals topped the Houston Cougars, 77-62, at Hofheinz Pavilion.
Luke Hancock and Montrezl Harrell both scored 15 points for Louisville (19-4, 8-2 AAC), which played without Wayne Blackshear. The forward suffered a concussion when he was elbowed by teammate Akoy Agau during Monday's practice.
Chris Jones added 14 points and five steals as the Cardinals won for the sixth time in seven games.
TaShawn Thomas and Jherrod Stiggers had 14 points apiece for the Cougars (11-12, 3-7), who have lost a season-high five games in a row.
"We got beat by a really good team. Louisville is terrific," Houston head coach James Dickey said.
Houston trailed 49-26 after Stephan Van Treese and Hancock opened the second half with consecutive layups. The home team managed to close to within nine at 62-53 on a Tione Womack jumper with 6:39 remaining.
Jones, however, hit three field goals, including one 3-pointer, on an ensuing 9-3 run, and the Cardinals led by as many as 11 the rest of the way.
The Cardinals shot a sizzling 69.6 percent in the first half and carried a 45-26 lead to the break.
Louisville scored 24 points off 14 Houston turnovers ... Smith had six assists and Hancock grabbed seven rebounds ... The Cougars honored former coach Guy V. Lewis, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
02/06 02:40:40 ET