No. 11 Louisville hands No. 18 SMU first home loss of season

Posted Wednesday, Mar. 05, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

From the moment No. 18 SMU took the floor Wednesday night, Moody Madness was blazing throughout the Mustangs’ remodeled arena.

With a 22-point second half, Louisville senior guard Russ Smith quelled the rowdy atmosphere and shut down Moody Coliseum for the regular season with an 84-71 Cardinals win, handing SMU its first home loss of the season.

After scoring just four points in the first half, Smith went a perfect 6-for-6 from 3-point range in the second half, finishing with a game-high 26 points. Smith tied his career best for 3-pointers.

“Russ Smith was phenomenal,” SMU coach Larry Brown said. “Rick [Pitino] did a great job to put him in a position to get shots, but I thought some of his shots were pretty well defended.”

SMU (27-7, 12-5 American Athletic Conference) began senior night with plenty of emotion in front of SMU’s seventh sellout of the season, the most since the 1984-85 season. The Mustangs claimed a 14-point lead with seven minutes left in the first half.

From the seven-minute mark on, SMU put up just five field-goal attempts, hitting one, and was 4 of 5 from the free-throw line.

During that span, No. 11 Louisville (25-5, 14-3 AAC) went on a 12-2 run to eventually take a 32-30 lead at the half.

SMU sophomore point guard Nic Moore got in foul trouble early, leaving SMU without enough viable ball handlers to navigate Louisville’s aggressive full-court press. SMU would turn the ball over 23 times in the game thanks to the defensive pressure.

“We didn’t handle the press,” Brown said. “We didn’t handle the intensity at all. This is about the eighth or ninth time we’ve had some adversity and we haven’t always been able to handle that the way great programs do. That’s my responsibility.”

When Moore was in the game, he was battling an injured ankle, which Brown said was a serious concern before the game.

“It was bad,” Brown said. “Ninety-nine percent of the people wouldn’t have played tonight. I don’t want to take anything away from Louisville and what they did, but he was hurting.”

Cardinals guard Chris Jones began the second-half parade of 3s, hitting one from deep, then stealing the inbound pass and making a layup while drawing a foul. Louisville added insult to injury by forcing a 5-second violation on the next SMU inbounds play.

SMU pulled within four with 6:08 left on the clock, bringing the crowd back into the game and onto their feet, but never could fully shift momentum back in their favor, as Smith would drain another 3.

Ten of Smith’s points came after that last SMU charge, including two baskets from behind the arc.

SMU senior guard Nick Russell, a former Arlington Grace Prep standout, led the Mustangs in scoring with 18 points, followed by sophomore forward Markus Kennedy with 14 and freshman guard Sterling Brown with 10.

Louisville finished with four scorers in double figures and two over 20 points, Smith followed by Jones with 21.

Brown has brought winning to the Hilltop as SMU spent its second straight week in the Top 25, but he left Wednesday night’s game more concerned about how to make his winning program a championship program as postseason play approaches.

“We don’t have that look in our eye,” Brown said. “We don’t understand that everything doesn’t always go perfect. You have to be man enough to fight through it and be supportive of one another and it’s amazing what you can do.”

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?

Wednesday, November 26Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Wednesday, November 26Full Scoreboard
Portland 11/26 7:00 PM ET
Charlotte TV: CSN-NW, SPSO
Washington 11/26 7:00 PM ET
Cleveland TV: CSN-DC, FSN-OH
Golden State 11/26 7:00 PM ET
Orlando TV: CSN-BA, FSN-FL
Brooklyn 11/26 7:00 PM ET
Philadelphia TV: YES, CSN-PHI
Toronto 11/26 7:30 PM ET
Atlanta TV: SN 360, SPSO
New York 11/26 7:30 PM ET
LA Clippers 11/26 7:30 PM ET
Sacramento 11/26 8:00 PM ET
Milwaukee 11/26 8:00 PM ET
Minnesota TV: FSN-WI, FSN-N+
Utah 11/26 8:00 PM ET
Oklahoma City TV: FSN-OK
Indiana 11/26 8:30 PM ET
San Antonio TV: FSN-IN, FSN-SW
Denver 11/26 9:00 PM ET
Phoenix TV: Altitude2, FSN-AZ
Memphis 11/26 10:30 PM ET
Full Scoreboard
Week 13Full Scoreboard
Chicago 12:30 PM ET
Detroit TV: CBS
Philadelphia 4:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: FOX
Seattle 8:30 PM ET
San Francisco TV: NBC
San Diego 1:00 PM ET
Baltimore TV: CBS
Cleveland 1:00 PM ET
Buffalo TV: CBS
Tennessee 1:00 PM ET
Houston TV: CBS
Washington 1:00 PM ET
Indianapolis TV: FOX
NY Giants 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: FOX
Carolina 1:00 PM ET
Minnesota TV: FOX
New Orleans 1:00 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: FOX
Oakland 1:00 PM ET
St. Louis TV: CBS
Cincinnati 1:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: CBS
Arizona 4:05 PM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
New England 4:25 PM ET
Green Bay TV: CBS
Denver 8:30 PM ET
Kansas City TV: NBC
Miami 8:30 PM ET
Full Scoreboard
Wednesday, November 26Full Scoreboard
Washington 11/26 7:00 PM ET
NY Islanders TV: CSN-DC+, MSG+
Winnipeg 11/26 7:00 PM ET
Buffalo TV: SN1, MSG-BUF
Philadelphia 11/26 7:30 PM ET
NY Rangers 11/26 7:30 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: MSG 2, SUN
Carolina 11/26 7:30 PM ET
Toronto 11/26 7:30 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: TVA Sports, SN, ROOT-PIT
Los Angeles 11/26 8:00 PM ET
Minnesota TV: FSN-W, FSN-N
Chicago 11/26 9:00 PM ET
Colorado TV: TVA 2, CSN-CH, Altitude
Calgary 11/26 10:30 PM ET
San Jose TV: SN-W, CSN-CA
Full Scoreboard