University of Louisville

Cards play 'horrible,' roll anyway

Louisville's Peyton Siva was fouled by Ian Chiles of IUPUI during the second half. Siva was held to six points, all on free throws.
Louisville's Peyton Siva was fouled by Ian Chiles of IUPUI during the second half. Siva was held to six points, all on free throws. AP

LOUISVILLE — Louisville keeps adding healthy players. Now, the fifth-ranked Cardinals must learn to play together.

Chris Smith matched his personal best with 19 points to go over 1,000 for his career and Louisville beat IUPUI 90-60 Wednesday night for the Cardinals' 16th straight victory at home.

"We have a lot left to learn right now. We put in one system just to try and win and survive and now we're putting in another system to pick up the up-tempo and do other things," said Louisville Coach Rick Pitino, who acknowledged he was in a foul mood after a lackluster first half. "Now we're making the next transition and it's going to take a little time to learn all this."

Gorgui Dieng hit all eight of his shots to set a career high with 18 points to go along with 12 rebounds as the Cardinals started 8-0 for the second straight season.

Louisville's schedule hasn't been too difficult with only one road game so far before the Cardinals travel to face No. 1 Kentucky in a Dec. 31 showdown.

"We played horrible today," Smith said. "He has a right to be in a foul mood. We came out, wasn't really ready to play and we're not a team that can do that."

In the meantime, they're continuing to get healthier with the return of forward Rakeem Buckles.

He hadn't played since tearing a ligament in his right knee in February and had a three-point play during a key 15-0 second half run that sealed the victory.

Stephen Thomas led IUPUI (2-8) with 14 points.

The Cardinals are still missing forward Wayne Blackshear (right shoulder), guard Elisha Justice (broken nose), Stephan Van Treese (left knee) and Mike Marra (left knee). Blackshear and Justice should return in the coming weeks, while Van Treese and Marra are out indefinitely.

The Cardinals hadn't played since beating then-No. 20 Vanderbilt in overtime on Friday night and IUPUI stayed within striking distance through the first 5 minutes of the second half when Thomas hit a three-pointer that cut Louisville's lead to 50-45.

But Russ Smith hit two free throws, then made a layup off a pass from Dieng in transition and Buckles scored his first points of his season on a three-point play during a 15-0 run that included a steal and slam by Chane Behanan that made it 65-45 with 10:39 left.

After the Jaguars ended the run, Chris Smith converted a four-point play and the Cardinals' biggest lead was the final margin. Smith was a walk-on at Louisville after playing two seasons at Manhattan, where he scored 596 points and made 41 starts. He now has 1,011 points in his career.

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