March 14, 2014
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Russ Smith scored a career-high 42 points and No. 5 Louisville cruised to a 94-65 victory over Houston on Friday in the semifinals of the inaugural American Athletic Conference tournament.
Smith shot 14 for 22 from the field and 5 for 7 from 3-point range. His final points came on a three-point play where he hit a reverse layup and converted the ensuing free throw.
Luke Hancock and Montrezl Harrell both added 12 for the Cardinals (28-5), the tournament's second seed, who will face the winner of Friday's second game between top-seeded Cincinnati and Connecticut. Stephan Van Treese grabbed 10 rebounds.
Despite Smith's accuracy, the Cardinals managed only 44 percent in the half as the Louisville bench, along with starting guard Chris Jones, combined to miss all nine of their shots in the half.
House led the Cougars with 10 points as Houston shot 38 percent.
Houston also struggled with turnovers, committing 10, leading to 15 points for Louisville.
The teams were tied at 16 when the Cardinals went on a 19-2 run as Houston went more than 7 minutes without a field goal. The Louisville lead would reach 21 on back-to-back dunks by Harrell, who had 10 in the half, before Houston closed with its seven straight points.
The Cougars were still trailing 54-39 at the 16-minute mark as Houston made three of its first six shots in the half, only to see Louisville go 3 of 4, including a 3-pointer from Chris Jones.
From there, the Cardinals continued to build the advantage, eventually reaching 30 shortly after Smith's departure.