No. 14 Louisville 89, BYU-Hawaii 79
LAIE, Hawaii (AP)—Louisville coach Rick Pitino wanted a tuneup before the Maui Invitational. Division II Brigham Young-Hawaii provided much more.
Taquan Dean and Larry O’Bannon each scored 18 points and No. 14 Louisville rallied in the second half to beat BYUH 89-79 Saturday in its season opener.
“I wanted this game to prepare us for the Maui Classic,” Pitino said. “They were a scary opponent to play with your first game. We knew we had to play our hearts out to get a victory.”
The game also marked the return of Pitino to Hawaii. He began his coaching career at Hawaii as a graduate assistant in 1974-75 and was an assistant coach in 1975-76.
The Cardinals rallied from a 45-38 second-half deficit behind tough defense and the scoring of Dean, who had 11 of his 18 points in the final 20 minutes. Louisville forced 24 turnovers and scored 15 points off 12 turnovers in the second half.
“I think our full-court press was able to wear them out,” Pitino said. “(BYUH) played a lot of consecutive games. To go against that type of pressure, playing all those games, I think they had tired legs down the stretch.”
Louisville trailed at halftime and faced a 59-54 deficit in the second half before using a 10-4 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Brandon Jenkins, to take a 64-63 lead. The Cardinals extended their lead to 78-71 with just over four minutes left.
BYUH (2-1) closed within 80-77 with 2:36 remaining but couldn’t get closer. Dean made a 3-pointer and the Cardinals closed the game with a 9-2 run.
“Taquan was very important today,” Pitino said. “If I can get him more time at the (shooting guard) spot I think you’ll see that a lot.”
Ellis Myles scored 14 points and Francisco Garcia added 10 for Louisville.
Austin Smylie scored a game-high 27 points for BYUH.
Louisville outrebounded BYUH 39-31, including 21-10 on the offensive glass.
“I think rebounding was a trouble for us,” Smylie said. “They’re so much bigger than us and so much more athletic. Without rebounding, it’s pretty hard to win games.”
Paul Peterson, starting point guard for BYUH, did not play in the second half.
The Cardinals are making their 10th visit to Hawaii, and first since the 2000-01 season. They faces Iowa in the first round of the Maui Invitational on Monday at the Lahaina Civic Center.