Louisville cranked up its pressure and UConn, which once held a 10-point lead against the newly-crowned No. 1 team, ran out of gas as the Cards turned a close game into a 73-58 blowout Monday night at the XL Center.
STAR OF THE GAME: Louisville guard Russ Smith was electric from the opening tip, torching the Huskies defense for a game-high 23 points in 33 minutes.
KEY TO THE LOSS: Louisville point guard Peyton Siva sat for the final 16:13 of the first half after picking up his second foul on a Shabazz Napier runout. After re-entering in the second half, Siva sparked a 32-10 second half run that completely reversed the momentum in the opening period.
*Freshman Omar Calhoun, who entered the game averaging 5.6 points and shooting 27 percent from the field in Big East play, scored 10 in the first half—capped by a buzzer-beater that put UConn ahead 34-28. He finished with 20 points, but committed six turnovers, some that proved to be costly during Louisville’s 19-5 run.
*Shabazz Napier scored 10 points in the first few minutes, but was locked down for the rest of the game, missing eight consecutive shots. He finished with 12 points on 1-for-7 shooting from deep. His backcourt mate, Ryan Boatright, was equally ineffective, totaling just 11 points. Together, they shot 4-for-14 from 3-point range.
*UConn took a 29-19 lead on a DeAndre Daniels dunk with 4:30 remaining in the first half. Daniels made the steal, and then took it the length of the floor for the jam.
*Louisville dominated in the paint as the night wore on. The duo of Gorgui Dieng and Chane Behanan was far too massive, collecting a combined 25 rebounds. The Cards held a 44-20 scoring edge in the paint and a 36-28 advantage on the boards.