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Louisville overmatches another foe in Marques Maybin Classic

Dec 9, 2008 - 4:45 AM LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (Ticker) -- Freshman Samardo Samuels scored 15 points as No. 10 Louisville outclassed Lamar, 78-56, in Monday's conclusion of the Marques Maybin Classic.

Jerry Smith had 12 points and Andre McGee added nine for Louisville (5-1), which won its third straight game.

Following easy wins over Indiana State and Ohio in the tournament, Louisville took control against Lamar with a 14-2 run early in the contest. Samuels had four points during the spurt, which gave the host a 23-12 lead with nine minutes remaining.

Louisville also scored 12 of the first 14 points of the second half, grabbing a 46-25 cushion with 15:05 remaining.

"It was a good basketball game, it wasn't a great basketball game for us," said Louisville coach Rick Pitino, whose team has posted a margin of victory of 32.3 points in the event's three games. "We played a terrific game last night. We still brought it defensively and did a decent job tonight and were very pleased."

Samuels had a successful three-point play in the run after intermission en route to leading Louisville in scoring for the second straight game. The 6-8 forward had 19 points in Sunday's 91-56 rout of Ohio.

So far, it has been a solid start to Samuels' stay at Freedom Hall, reaching double figures in scoring in each of his first six games, averaging 16.3 points.

"I think he is doing really great for a freshman, I really do," Pitino said. "I think he is doing terrific.

"I want to see him run the floor better. I want to see him where he makes moves and get above the rim. I want to see him rebound quicker. I want to see him challenge shots better. So that's the good thing about Samardo. I am extremely impressed that he is a freshman and he has got so much improvement."

Not a big rebounder, Samuels did grab six boards and Terrence Williams had a season-high 13 to go along with five points for Louisville, which finished with a 46-31 advantage on the glass.

A day after he fell two assists shy of a triple-double, Earl Clark had six points, six rebounds and five assists as Louisville once dominated a foe on the boards, 46-31.

Since an upset loss at Western Kentucky on November 30, Louisville has topped its opponents in rebounding by a 137-91 margin.

"Rebounding is the most substantial improvement," Pitino said about the team's growth so far. "We've gone from a poor rebounding team to a good rebounding team and that's been the catalyst to our break(out)."

Clark ended up being named the tournament's MVP, averaging 13.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists in the three games.

Jay Brown scored 16 points and Kenny Dawkins 13 for Lamar (6-3), which went 4-of-19 (21 percent) on 3-pointers.

After mustering 23 points in the first half, Lamar finished 35 percent (19-of-54) from the floor en route to failing to reach 60 points for the first time this season.

Louisville played a big part in that, as it entered fifth in the nation in scoring defense.

"They do a lot of things and they put a lot of pressure on you," Lamar coach Steve Roccaforte said about Louisville. "We had a hard time executing on offense with their pressure.

"We couldn't pressure them very well. We tried various traps and pressures. A couple of times coming out of timeouts and they got layups off it. It kinda limits what you can do. They are very good."