Men's Basketball Begins Two-Game Road Trip with Visit to Houston
February 5, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
CARDINALS PRESS RELEASE
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The University of Louisville men’s basketball team begins its two-game road swing with a trip south to face American Athletic Conference foe Houston on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at Hofheinz Pavilion at 9 p.m. ET.
The Feb. 5 game will air on ESPNU, with Jason Benetti (play-by-play) and Tim Welsh (analyst) calling the action. Paul Rogers (play-by-play) and Bob Valvano (analyst) will announce the game on WHAS 840 AM. The contest also is available on SIRIUS channel 92 and XM channel 191.
The two programs have met 19 times previously, and Louisville owns a 14-5 edge. The squads met earlier this season, with Louisville posting a 91-52 victory at home on Jan. 16. Wayne Blackshear scored a career-best 23, knocking down five treys, after coming off the bench. Louisville shot 51.5 percent from the field and connected on a season-high 15 3-pointers. Conversely, Louisville’s defense held Houston to 30.8 percent shooting and forced the Cougars into 16 turnovers.
Louisville, which fell to No. 14 in the Associated Press Poll and 10th in the USA Today Coaches Poll, is coming off an 87-70 victory over UCF to push the Cardinals’ record to 18-4 overall, 7-2 in league play.
The Cardinals, who shot 51.6 percent from the field, were paced by Russ Smith’s 27 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Luke Hancock added 16, Montrezl Harrell had 14 points and seven rebounds, and Blackshear contributed 10. More than half of the Louisville’s points (48) were scored inside the paint. Tristan Spurlock led UCF with 20 points.
Statistically, Louisville ranks in the top-15 nationally in scoring margin (No. 1, +20.2), turnover margin (No. 2, +6.8), steals per game (No. 5, 9.5), total steals (No. 5, 209), and scoring offense (No. 15, 82.6).
Through 22 games, Smith is leading the Cardinals in scoring (18.4), while totaling team highs in assists (102), steals (41), and 3-pointers made (47). Harrell, who leads the team in rebounding (8.3), is second on the team in scoring at 12.5. He is shooting 62.3 percent from the field, good enough for sixth nationally.
Houston has dropped four straight and six of its last seven games, including a 93-70 loss on the road last time out on Feb. 1. The Cougars are 11-11 overall, with a 3-6 record in league play.
Against the Scarlet Knights, Houston’s TaShawn Thomas had a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds. Three others scored in double figures in the loss, including Brandon Morris’ 13 points. Rutgers, led by a pair of 20-point scorers in J.J. Moore (27 points) and Myles Mack (25 points), shot 52.5 percent from the field and scored 24 of its points from the charity stripe.
Thomas is leading the Cougars in scoring (15.9) and rebounding (8.8), while maintaining team highs in blocks with 66 and steals with 26. Notably, he is shooting 59.5 percent from the field. Daniel House is the only other player averaging double-digit points with 12.8.
Houston ranks in the top 15 in two categories, blocked shots per game (No. 13, 6.1), and total blocks (No. 14, 135).
The Cougars are under the direction of fourth-year coach James Dickey, who is 58-57 in his time there. Houston was picked to finish seventh in the conference in the preseason coaches’ poll after going 20-13 last season and reaching the CBI quarterfinals. Thomas was named a second-team all-AAC preseason selection.
GAME FACTS - Louisville at Houston