ORLANDO, Fla. -- Russ Smith hit six 3-pointers and finished with 24 points and nine assists as No. 14 Louisville ran past UCF 90-65 on Tuesday in the American Athletic Conference opener for both teams.
Luke Hancock had 16 points for the Cardinals (12-2) and Montrezl Harrell added 15 points and eight rebounds.
After seeing a big first-half lead cut to single digits, the Cardinals led by as many as 27 points in the second half, connecting on 14 3-pointers.
The Cardinals were coming in off a loss to in-state rival Kentucky that dropped them out of the top 10.
Isaiah Sykes led UCF with 19 points and nine rebounds.
The Knights (8-4) were playing their first game in nine days and hosting their fourth Top 25 team ever. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak.
After going cold from the field late in the first half, the Cardinals found their touch in the final 20 minutes. They connected on six 3-pointers in the first 7 minutes of the half to build a 25-point lead with 13:28 to play.
The Cardinals were aggressive on both ends early and led by as many as 19 points in the first half before seeing that lead wilt to just nine at halftime.
Louisville used its pressure to push the tempo early, forcing three straight turnovers to begin the game.
The Cardinals jumped to a 15-2 lead and then went on another 8-2 spurt to stretch the lead to 23-4.
They began to settle for outside shots, though, allowing UCF to settle down offensively. That, coupled with two turnovers helped key a 13-0 run by the Knights that trimmed the gap all the way down 28-23.
Sykes had six of his 12 first-half points during the run, and reserve big man Stephon Blair added six points.
The Knights were also able to stay within striking distance thanks to a 22-17 rebounding edge in the first half.