Louisville vs. Oregon score: Cardinals lead at halftime, 45-31

Streeter Lecka

Louisville took an early lead over the Ducks and never looked back, led by Russ Smith's 16 points.

The top-seeded Louisville Cardinals have been one of the more dominant teams in the country this past month and continued to play very well in the early going of Friday's Sweet 16 matchup against Oregon. The Cardinals took a 45-31 lead into halftime against the No. 12 Ducks.

The difference in the first 20 minutes was the Cardinals' defense. Ranked as the top defensive team in the country, Louisville held Oregon to 40 percent shooting from the field and forced six turnovers. Even if the Ducks came away with points, they're really having to work on every possession.

Louisville ended the first half on a 14-5 run, which was aided by the Ducks getting out of control down the stretch. Russ Smith led the way with 16 points. Gorgui Dieng has had his way against UO's frontcourt, scoring eight points, grabbing two offensive rebounds and blocking two shots.

As for Oregon, freshman point guard Dominic Artis has 10 points, but also two fouls. E.J. Singler has nine points and five rebounds. Damyean Dotson, who is averaging 11 points per game this season, went 0-for-6 and was held scoreless.

The winner of this game marches on to face the winner of Duke and Michigan State in the Elite 8 on Sunday afternoon.

More in College Basketball:

Chasing Cinderella: Dunk City, USA

Bill Connelly: Here's how FGCU beats Florida

The best and worst from a sweet Thursday

16 things you should know about the Sweet 16

Printable bracket for March Madness

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