No. 5-ranked Louisville used defensive intensity and balanced scoring to come away from College of Charleston's TD Arena with an 80-38 victory.
Louisville (7-1, 0-0 BIG EAST) forced 27 turnovers and converted those into 30 points off turnovers to hold the Cougars (5-3, 1-0 SoCon) at bay. College of Charleston was held to its lowest-point total since a 1997 game at Massachusetts when the Cougars scored 40 points.
Four different Louisville players scored in double figures led by Wayne Blackshear's game-high 18 points. Russ Smith scored 13 points with a game-high four assists, while Peyton Siva scored 12 points and led the team with five steals.
CofC was led by a strong double-double performance by Adjehi Baru, who tallied 16 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, eight of which came on the offensive glass. Anthony Stitt was second on the team with seven points, while Matt Sundberg grabbed seven rebounds.
The Cardinals outrebounded the Cougars, 38-31, and held an edge in field-goal shooting, as Louisville shot 45.3 percent (29-of-64) and CofC managed only 34.8 percent (16-of-46).
Louisville's full-court press kept CofC out of rhythm in the first half, forcing 16 first-half turnovers, as the Cardinals built a 23-7 lead at the 6:46 minute mark after a steal and free throws by Smith. The Cougars ended the half on a 5-4 run, punctuated by a jumper from Baru with 28 seconds remaining. However, Louisville took a 36-16 lead into the locker room.
CofC opened the second half with an offensive flurry, going on a 10-4 run bookended by three-pointers from Stitt, cutting the U of L lead to 40-26. However, the Cardinals quickly quieted the home crowd with two layups from Smith and a steal and dunk from Blackshear, pushing the margin back to 46-26 with 15:07 remaining in regulation.
Charleston never came closer than 20 points for the rest of the second half as the Cardinals shot 18-of-35 from the field.
The Cougars will take some time to focus on final exams this week and welcome Anderson University to their home venue on Thursday, Dec. 13 for a 7 p.m. (ET) tipoff at TD Arena.
· For the fifth time this year, the Cougars went with the starting five of sophomore Anthony Stitt, senior Andrew Lawrence, junior Anthony Thomas, junior Willis Hall and sophomore Adjehi Baru (4-1).
· Louisville remains an undefeated 3-0 in the all-time series with College of Charleston. The Cardinals were the highest-ranked team to ever play on CofC's home court and third-ever top 10 opponent to travel to the Lowcountry next to No. 7 Connecticut in 1995 and No. 9 North Carolina in 2010.
· CofC had a sell-out crowd of 5,117 – the eighth-largest single-game attendance in school history. It marked the program's 20th all-time sell-out crowd and first of the season at TD Arena.
· Adjehi Baru brought down a game-high 14 rebounds which marked his fifth double-figure rebounding game of his career. He also turned in his second career double-double with a season-high 16 points.
· For the first time this season, the Cougars were outrebounded by their opponents, 38-31 (-7).
· CofC scored a school-record low 38 points in a single game (since becoming an NCAA Division I member in 1991-92) which was its lowest point total since a 52-40 loss at UMass on Dec. 2, 1997.
· It was the largest margin of defeat (-42) by a CofC squad since a 39-point road loss at Clemson (L, 55-94) on Dec. 19, 2009.
· The Cougars made a season-low 16 first-half points which was its lowest first-half production since scoring only 16 first-half points at Morehead State, led by Kenneth Faried, on Jan. 2, 2011.
College of Charleston Head Coach Doug Wojcik
On the game …
"They (Louisville) are really good. You can't win a game with 27 turnovers – 18 steals for them. We tried to simulate their pressure yesterday in practice. Their length and strength is pretty impressive. They chose to play zone like St. John's. Both teams impressive physically. It was a tough night for us. We never put them on their heels."
On Louisville's guard play …
"Peyton Siva is so in control of what he is doing. Russ Smith is a big-time scorer and just finds ways. Peyton is an NBA point guard. Both are very good. Both of them have played so long together, they are like brothers and play off of each other. Give credit to them."
On moving on from this loss …
"We have played an incredible stretch for who we are. Give our kids credit. We got home on Sunday morning at 3 a.m. (from Elon), but no excuses. Could be nerves. We had a great crowd tonight and we are sorry to disappoint the fans and students. That's as good of an atmosphere I've ever been around. I was disappointed in our performance."
College of Charleston Sophomore Forward Adjehi Baru
On his double-double performance …
"It really doesn't matter how many points or how many rebounds I had, because I'm just playing this game to win. So tonight, I felt a little bit down, really down for how we just played. I'm just trying to make our fans enjoy the game, so I'm sorry about that. We just want to bounce back. We can't have our heads down. We just have to work hard for the next game."
College of Charleston Sophomore Point Guard Anthony Stitt
On Louisville's press …
"They just were trying to speed us up. They sped us up on offense. If we broke the press, we were rushing our shots. We were feeding into them, allowing them to turn us over. We had 27 turnovers. That's way too many and we just have to do better."
On Louisville's back court …
"Their backcourt is pretty good. They have Peyton Siva, who was using the ball screen really well and getting his guys open. Russ Smith would come off looking to attack. He really found his shot and I think that put pressure on our defense to close down. They kicked it out to their shooters and they were able to hit threes tonight."