LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Donovan Mitchell scored 15 points, Quentin Snider added 13 and No. 11 Louisville used a 20-0 run to close the first half and dominate Eastern Kentucky 87-56 on Saturday for its fifth straight victory.
Seeking a good tuneup for next week’s rivalry game against No. 6 Kentucky, the Cardinals (10-1) shook off a sluggish start and 12-6 deficit to outscore EKU 30-4 the rest of the half and hold the Colonels scoreless for the final 7 minutes.
Louisville never looked back en route to its 14th championship in 15 years in the Billy Minardi Classic, named for the brother-in-law of Cardinals coach Rick Pitino.
The Cardinals shot 48 percent from the field and owned the boards 47-31 in dominating the first game between the schools since 2004.
Mangok Mathiang matched a career best with 13 rebounds for Louisville. Jaylen Johnson and Tony Hicks each had 10 points.
Nick Mayo had 15 points and Asante Gist 12 for the Colonels (6-6), who didn’t reach 20 points until the 16:39 mark of the second half and shot 36 percent.
THE BIG PICTURE
Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels started fresh despite a week off for finals before being overwhelmed by Louisville. Besides shooting just 27 percent in the first half, they missed all five free throws before finishing 8 of 15. The high-scoring tandem of Mayo and Gist were held below their per-game scoring averages of 19.3 and 14.4 points, respectively.
Louisville: Snider’s eight straight points including two 3s helped snap the Cardinals out of their initial offensive funk. He has scored in double digits in consecutive games. Anas Mahmoud returned from a three-game absence (concussion) with six points, five blocks and four rebounds. Louisville has held four of its last five opponents to 36 percent shooting or lower.
Consecutive blowouts could push Louisville into the Top 10 just in time to face in-state rival Kentucky.
Eastern Kentucky: Continues a five-game road swing on Monday at Norfolk State.
Louisville: Hosts No. 6 Kentucky on Wednesday night in the annual showdown for Bluegrass supremacy. The Cardinals have lost three straight in the series.