No. 7 Villanova vs. No. 2 Louisville final score: Cardinals run away from Wildcats, advance to Big East semis

Al Bello

Russ Smith scored 28 points and helped Louisville get a dominating win over Villanova.

The Louisville Cardinals dominated the Villanova Wildcats in the Big East quarterfinals, 74-55, and will advance to the semifinal round.

The game got ugly pretty fast, as Louisville started things off with an 18-8 run and never looked back. Their defense stymied Villanova early, getting nine steals and forcing 17 turnovers in the first half alone. They went into halftime up 30-21.

Villanova still couldn't get going in the second half, and when Louisville put up a 15-6 run around the 10-minute mark, the rest of the game was a mere formality. The Wildcats shot only 38.9 percent from the field, including a miserable 2-of-12 on three-pointers. They finished with 24 turnovers and allowed the Cardinals to get 12 steals. The Wildcats never held a lead once in this game.

Russ Smith dominated the Wildcats with 28 points, and Luke Hancock came off the bench to score 12 and grab two steals. Mouphtaou Yarou did what he could for Villanova, scoring a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Despite the ugly loss, Villanova should still be in good position for an at-large NCAA bid. They seem to have done enough over the last month to earn a spot in the Big Dance. As for Louisville, they remain in the mix for a No. 1 seed. The Cardinals will face either Notre Dame or Marquette in the Big East semifinals on Friday.

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