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Smith leads No. 14 Louisville over DePaul

Jan 15, 2012 - 1:25 AM Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - Russ Smith scored 25 points, leading No. 14 Louisville to a 76-59 win over DePaul on Saturday.

The Cardinals (14-4, 2-3 Big East) had lost four of five and were playing without leading scorer Kyle Kuric, but got 20 points from Chris Smith and 13 points and 14 rebounds from Gorgui Dieng to earn the much-needed win on Saturday.

Brandon Young had a team-high 14 points for the Blue Demons (10-7, 1-4), losers of three straight.

"I thought we were locked in and playing pretty good, we just couldn't make shots," said DePaul coach Oliver Purnell.

The Cardinals were coming off Tuesday's 90-59 loss at Providence, in which they shot just 37.9 percent from the floor and 21.1 percent from beyond the arc. Kuric, who is averaging 13 points per game, sprained his ankle on the first play of practice Friday, further limiting the UofL offense. But despite the senior's absence, the Cardinals were sharp against DePaul, hitting 29- of-57 shots from the field.

"Our offense is Russ Smith playing in the middle of a playground in Queens," said Cardinals coach Rick Pitino. "Chris (Smith) ran the offense. We have to play that way, because DePaul is always trapping."

They led by 10 midway through the first half and held on for a 39-30 advantage at the break. Russ Smith bolstered the team early, scoring 16 to go with four boards, three steals and a pair of assists.

DePaul briefly threatened late in the second half, putting together an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to 56-51 with just over seven minutes left. Worrel Clahar and Moses Morgan both knocked down a trey during the burst and Derrell Robertson capped it with a layup.

The Cardinals, though, countered with a 9-2 run and Peyton Siva's steal and run-out dunk made it 65-53 with 4 1/2 minutes left. The Blue Demons didn't threaten down the stretch.

Game Notes

The Cardinals have won the last eight meetings with the Blue Demons. They lead the all-time series, 36-21...Siva had four points and seven assists...Louisville limited DePaul to 34.3 percent shooting and held a 41-33 advantage on the glass.