Louisville opened its season with a 70-48 win over Charleston on Saturday afternoon in a home win, but it wasn’t always as easy as the score would appear.
The defending champion Cardinals came into the game without suspended forward Chane Behanan or injured wing Luke Hancock and both could return soon but for awhile the Cougars gave Louisville a scare.
Louisville only led 29-27 at the break and Charleston big man Adjehi Baru was on the bench with foul trouble. But Louisville figured things out in the second half enough to pull out the victory at home to open the season.
The guard duo of Russ Smith (21 points) and Chris Jones (12 points) led four Cardinals scorers in double-figures as Wayne Blackshear (11 points) and Montrezl Harrell also are included.
Louisville only led by five points with 7:36 left in the game before blowing the game open with its press and athleticism.
The win showed that even on a slow or off night, Louisville is so balanced that they can usually right the ship if they get some easy baskets off of turnovers. Jones, Blackshear and Smith all had at least 13 field goal attempts against Charleston and with the return of two key rotation players like Behanan and Hancock — as well as more offense from Montrezl Harrell — Louisville should have plenty of scoring this season.