Louisville size dominates in win over St. Francis Brooklyn
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) In the pecking order of college basketball, Louisville ranks right about the top of the food chain. St. Francis Brooklyn, not so much.
''Louisville is a different animal with their size and their length,'' St. Francis forward Chris Hooper said. ''They are a really good team.''
Damion Lee scored 21 points as Louisville again blistered an early-season opponent with Tuesday night's 85-41 win.
Lee finished 8 of 12 from the floor and scored 15 in the first half. He also added eight rebounds.
The Cardinals (4-0) used their size to dominate inside, scoring 28 of their first 30 points in the paint. St. Francis managed only four points in the post in the first half. Louisville shot 19 of 31 (61 percent) en route to 43-24 halftime lead with 32 points coming in the paint.
''Pound it down low,'' guard Quentin Snider said of the night's game plan.
Glenn Sanabria and Tyreek Jewell each scored 11 points for St. Francis (1-3).
Louisville played five players 6-9 or taller while the Terriers' biggest starter, 6-7 Amdy Fall, fouled out without scoring. The Cardinals finished with a 56-12 advantage on points in the paint.
''Their length is as good as you can find in the country,'' St. Francis coach Glenn Braica said. ''Their length is a problem inside and they surround it with shooting.''
Louisville's 6-foot-10 freshman Ray Spalding followed up his breakout performance against North Florida, when he scored 18 points and had 12 rebounds, with 12 points, eight coming in the first half. Center Chinanu Onauku had a career-best 12 rebounds to lead Louisville.
The Cardinals extended their lead with a 9-0 run to start the second half before two Jewell 3s made it 52-30 with 15:40 to play. A Gunnar Olafsson layup again cut the lead to 22 with 12:55 left before Louisville scored six straight in the paint to start an 11-0 run.
St. Francis had its only lead of the game at 4-3 following a Sanabria 3-pointer before Louisville took control. The Cardinals clicked off an 11-0 run in 1:46 with Lee scoring seven points to put Louisville up 14-4 after four minutes.
It was more of the same to start the year for both teams as Louisville continued its streak of impressive defensive performances while the Terriers again had a rough shooting night. St. Francis dipped below its 39 percent average in hitting just 14 of 47 shots (30 percent). Louisville had averaged a 35-point winning margin in its first three outings, extending it with the 44-point victory.
Louisville's should see stiffer competition as they travel for the first time for their next two games. The Cardinals play Saint Louis in New York to conclude the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational before visiting No. 3 Michigan State on Dec. 2.
''Our head is on our test, focused on what we can do for this game Saturday in Brooklyn,'' Lee said. ''The biggest game on our schedule thus far is Saturday coming up.''
St. Francis Brooklyn: The game marked a Kentucky homecoming for two Terriers, freshman Keon Williams and sophomore Jagos Lasic. Williams finished fourth on the all-time scoring list at John Hardin High School while Lasic averaged 21 points and 15 rebounds as a senior at Morgan County High School. Lasic finished with two points.
Louisville: Lee entered averaging 19 points a game. The graduate transfer from Drexel is the Cardinals' leading scorer. . Freshman forward Deng Adel missed Saturday's game against North Florida and is expected to be out 3-6 weeks with a sprained left knee.
OFFENSE TO DEFENSE
Louisville held its third opponent this season to 14 or fewer field goals despite a coaching staff unhappy with the team's defensive positioning and Lee calling their attitude ''lackadaiscal.'' Louisville assistant Ralph Willard chalked some of it up to strong offensive performances. The Cardinals have scored 80 or more in each of their first four games.
''One of the things that happens when you play good offense, your defensive intensity improves,'' Willard said.
St. Francis Brooklyn: Plays North Florida on Saturday in West Hartford, Connecticut.
Louisville: Plays Saint Louis on Saturday in Brooklyn, New York.