MIAMI — This was Rick Pitino's way of expressing appreciation for the chance FIU gave his son. He brought his team to Miami, and blew out the Panthers.
Russ Smith scored 18 points, Wayne Blackshear added 13 and No. 6 Louisville won its sixth straight, easing past FIU 85-56 on Saturday night. The Cardinals never trailed and were rarely threatened, outside a couple of brief early stretches.
"We didn't play great basketball tonight, but we played good offense," Pitino said. "We were a little inept at times on defense, but offensively we did a good job in sharing the basketball and making sure that we did the right things to attack their changing defenses."
Smith had 12 in the first half for the Cardinals (11-1), who never trailed and were rarely threatened, outside of a couple brief early stretches where the game was tight.
Tymell Murphy scored 16 points and former Louisville player Rakeem Buckles added 13 for FIU (8-5), which was coached last season by Richard Pitino, the son of the Louisville coach.
"Played against a very good basketball team," FIU coach Anthony Evans said. "Thought we went out there and played good in spurts. I think their depth wore us down a little bit and they finished the game."
Rick Pitino decided to honor the contract and play FIU, offering to do so in Miami even after his son left the Panthers to take over at Minnesota after last season. When Richard Pitino left FIU, Louisville had the option of canceling the series.
"But they wanted to give us the game and we're very appreciative," FIU director of sports and entertainment Pete Garcia said.
So were the Pitinos, for both how FIU hired the son of the Hall of Famer and never stood in his way when the Minnesota offer came.