LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WCIV) – Preseason No. 3-ranked Louisville didn't let the College of Charleston foil its season opener or national championship banner unveil on Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center.
Russ Smith scored a game-high 21 points to lead the Cardinals (1-0) to a 70-48 victory over the Cougars (0-1). Newcomer Chris Jones added 12 points and Wayne Blackshear had 11.
It started off as a low-scoring affair as CofC and Louisville traded the lead six times in the first half. A jumper by junior big man Adjehi Baru (Abidjan, Ivory Coast) shifted the momentum, 9-8, at the 14:39 minute mark and everything seemed to be going the Cougars' way.
For the game, Louisville shot 38.2 percent from the floor (10-of-29 in the first half) and 22.2 percent from behind the three-point line against CofC's pressure defense.
In his collegiate debut, redshirt freshman Canyon Barry (Colorado Springs, Colo.) scored eight of his team-high 10 points in the first half of play as the Cougars' trailed by just two to the defending national champions at halftime, 29-27.
Foul trouble plagued CofC in the second half as freshman point guard Joe Chealey (Orlando, Fla.) was charged with his fourth foul as well as senior Willis Hall (Charlotte, N.C.) and Barry. The Cougars had to rely on their bench and the Cardinals used it to their advantage.
Louisville scored 27 of its points on 21 miscues by the Cougars. Baru recorded eight points and nine rebounds, while Chealey had eight points, four rebounds and three assists in his college debut.
CofC will have a quick turnaround with its home opener scheduled against Charlotte (1-0) on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. (ET) at TD Arena.