LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Wayne Blackshear hit his first seven shots en route to a career-high 31 points that helped No. 4 Louisville rout Cal State Northridge 80-55 on Tuesday night.
After a five-point effort Saturday at Western Kentucky, Blackshear made four 3-pointers en route to scoring 16 of Louisville’s first 21 points. The senior matched his previous career best of 23 points by halftime of a game the Cardinals (11-0) played without suspended junior forward Montrezl Harrell.
Harrell, a preseason All-America selection, was suspended one game by the Atlantic Coast Conference following a flagrant-2 foul and ejection at WKU. Louisville didn’t miss him, shooting 47 percent from the field in its final tuneup before Saturday’s rivalry game against top-ranked Kentucky.
The Matadors (3-10) got within 51-43 before Louisville broke it open with a 17-1 run over 3:36 that included six straight points by Blackshear, who made 11 of 17 and gave Louisville 30-point scorers in back-to-back games, adding six rebounds.
Terry Rozier, who scored a career-high 32 points at WKU to earn ACC player of the week honors, scored 16 points. Chris Jones and sophomore reserve guard David Levitch added nine points each for the Cardinals, who made a season-best 11 3-pointers on 27 attempts.
Stephen Maxwell had 20 points and 11 rebounds and Stephan Hicks 19 points for the Matadors, who shot 33 percent in losing for the eighth time in nine games.
Outside shooting has been a season-long concern for Louisville, but Blackshear quickly quieted that issue by smoothly nailing his early attempts from behind the arc to put the Cardinals up by double digits and 36-25 at the break. CSUN didn’t wilt and stayed close thanks to several small runs, the last of which put the Matadors within three possessions before Louisville awoke with a run that sealed the victory and led several small groups of fans to start yelling, “Beat UK!”
Watching in street clothes was the suspended Harrell, whose absence caused a lineup change resulting in 6-foot-10 duo Mangok Mathiang and Chinanu Onuaku starting alongside each other for the first time.
CSUN coach Reggie Theus was a Louisville assistant from 2003-05 and was part of the Cardinals team that reached the 2005 Final Four. … Seated behind Louisville’s bench was Pitino’s son Richard, another ex-Cards assistant in his second season as Minnesota’s head coach.
CSU Northridge: The Matadors matched the Cardinals in rebounding (36-36) but committed 20 turnovers leading to 21 Louisville points.
Louisville: Freshman forward Shaqquan Aaron did not score in his season debut after sitting out the first nine games while the NCAA determined his amateur status. He was eligible to return at Western Kentucky but did not play.
CSU Northridge: Hosts Stephen F. Austin on Monday.
Louisville: Hosts No. 1 Kentucky on Saturday.
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