Champ Louisville up and running
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Preseason All-America Russ Smith had 21 points and five assists and No. 3 Louisville outscored College of Charleston 22-3 over the final 6:41 on Saturday to pull away to a 70-48 victory in the first game of its national championship defense.
Smith’s new backcourtmate Chris Jones, last season’s junior college player of the year, added 12 points and five assists.
Charleston trailed 48-45 after freshman Canyon Barry’s hit a 17-footer with 6:55 to play. Then Smith asserted himself, hitting two free throws and driving to find forwards Montrezl Harrell and Wayne Blackshear for easy baskets that gave the Cardinals a 54-45 lead with 5:05 left. Charleston scored again with 2:42 remaining, making it 61-47 and ending a 13-0 Louisville run.
Barry, the son of Hall of Famer Rick Barry, led Charleston with 10 points.
Louisville raised its third national championship banner to the rafters before the game.
No. 11 OHIO ST. 89,
MORGAN ST. 50
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Shannon Scott scored a career-high 16 points and LaQuinton Ross, also starting for the first time as a junior, had 14 points and a personal-best 11 rebounds for Ohio State.
Lenzelle Smith Jr. led the way with 18 points and spurred a first-half spurt for the Buckeyes, who improved to 93-18 in home openers and 89-22 in season debuts.
No. 15 GONZAGA 100,
SPOKANE, Wash. — Sam Dower had 21 points and a career-high 17 rebounds to lead Gonzaga past Bryant in the season opener for both teams.
The 6-foot-9 senior, making his eighth start for the Bulldogs, shot 8 of 13 from the field and posted his second career double-double.
No. 16 WICHITA ST. 93,
EMPORIA ST. 50
WICHITA, Kan. — Cleanthony Early scored 21 points and Ron Baker added 17 to lead Wichita State in its first game since its Final Four appearance.
The Shockers cruised in their season opener against Emporia State, an NCAA Division II team playing for the second consecutive day, by shooting 51.7 percent and attempting 22 more free throws than the Hornets.
No. 23 New Mexico 88,
Alabama A&M 52
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Cameron Bairstow had 22 points and 11 rebounds, Alex Kirk added 16 points and 12 rebounds, and No. 23 New Mexico opened the season with an 88-52 win over Alabama A&M on Saturday night.
Kendall Williams added 17 points and seven assists for the Lobos (1-0) and Cullen Neal, son of head coach Craig Neal, finished with 12 in his college debut.
Jeremy Crutcher had 17 points to lead the Bulldogs (0-1).