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Smith helps Louisville snap skid in win over St. John's

Jan 4, 2012 - 6:02 AM New York, NY (Sports Network) - Russ Smith scored 17 points and No. 11 Louisville snapped out of a two-game losing streak with a 73-58 win over St. John's on Tuesday night.

Kyle Kuric added 15 points for Louisville (13-2, 1-1 Big East) and Gorgui Dieng had 12.

D'Angelo Harrison scored 24 points to lead the Red Storm (7-7, 1-2), who have dropped two straight, while Moe Harkless chipped in 12.

Louisville had lost two straight regular season games for the first time in almost two years, falling to Georgetown and Kentucky last week and tumbling seven places from No. 4 in the AP poll.

The setbacks came on the heels of a 12-0 start, the program's best since 1974-75, but St. John's provided the perfect opportunity for a bounce-back win, shooting just 14.3 percent in the first half to allow Louisville to build a 29-18 lead.

"They have some very good young players," said Louisville head coach Rick Pitino. "But when [shots] don't fall, the problem can be compounded."

Mike Dunlap, the St. John's assistant who has been filling in for Steve Lavin while the head coach continues to recover from prostate cancer surgery, said the good news at halftime was his team was only down 11 points despite shooting around 14 percent.

"That's hard to find across the country," said Dunlap.

Harkless gave St. John's a 5-0 lead with a three-pointer and a layup to begin the game. But the Red Storm were just 3-for-33 the remainder of the first half during a brutal 18-minute stretch that included a missed dunk.

"Unfortunately [shots] weren't falling today when we needed them to fall, especially in the beginning of the game," said Harkless. "We've just got to do a better job of getting to the rim, and I think we shot too many threes to start the game."

Louisville took an 11-point lead on Chris Smith's three to make it 23-12 and the Cardinals pushed their lead as high as 15 before the break.

St. John's never got it to single digits in the second half, while Louisville led by as many as 26 points.

The Red Storm shot 28.1 percent from the floor (18-of-64), including just 2- for-16 on three-pointers, while the Cardinals shot 43.3 percent.

Game Notes

Louisville leads the all-time series 10-4, winning six of the last seven meetings...St. John's fell to 7-2 at Madison Square Garden this season.