Louisville vs. SMU: Russ Smith's 26 lifts Cardinals over Mustangs, 84-71

Andy Lyons

Russ Smith made all six of his three-point attempts, the best shooting display of his career.

No. 11 Louisville pulls ahead in the race for the first ever American Athletic Conference regular season title, beating No. 18 SMU, 84-71. The Cardinals leaned on their star point guard Russ Smith, who scored 26 points.

Smith, not known as a sharpshooter, tied a career high by hitting six three-pointers. He hit every three he took, while backcourt mate Chris Jones shot 4-7 from deep. Louisville forced 21 SMU turnovers, including 16 steals. Jones alone finished the game with six takeaways to go with 21 points.

The brunt of SMU's scoring was done by their point guard, Nick Russell. The senior tallied 18 points, including 10-11 from the free-throw line. But Russell was far from perfect, turning the ball over eight times in the game.

The win puts the Cardinals a full game ahead of SMU in the standings with one game to play, eliminating the Mustangs from title contention. Cincinnati sits a half-game back of Louisville, as the Bearcats take on No. 20 Memphis tomorrow night.

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