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Louisville 83, Rutgers 76

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- The conference has changed but the results were the same for the Louisville Cardinals against Rutgers on Saturday.

Playing in the American Athletic Conference, No. 14 Louisville continued its recent dominance over the Scarlet Knights, posting an 83-76 win at the Rutgers Athletic Center.

Louisville (13-2) is now 12-1 against Rutgers (7-8) and has won eight straight against the Scarlet Knights. Both schools were members of the Big East Conference before joining the AAC.

Saturday's meeting could be the last between the two schools for quite some time. Louisville is joining the ACC next season, while Rutgers is headed to the Big Ten.

Guard Russ Smith led Louisville with 22 points and forward Luke Hancock came off the bench to score a season-high 15 points. Smith now has 1,501 points for his career

Guard Myles Mack paced Rutgers with 19 points before fouling out late in the game.

Coach Rick Pitino's team forced 19 turnovers and registered 15 steals in recording their eighth win in their last nine games. Louisville ranks 11th in the nation in steals, averaging 9.6 a game.

Rutgers cut the Louisville lead to seven points at 68-61 with 3:42 to play, but Louisville used a quick 3-0 run to go ahead 71-61 with 1:50 remaining.

The Cardinals opened up the second half on a 14-7 burst to grab a 54-40 advantage with 13:54 to play. Guard Chris Jones contributed six points in the run.

The Cardinals took their first lead of the half when forward Mangok Mathiang sank the second of two free throws to put Louisville ahead, 30-29, with 1:43 to go. That started a 9-3 run for Louisville, propelling them to a 39-33 halftime lead.

Guard Wayne Blackshear led the Cardinals with eight points in the half.

Mack felt the sting of Louisville's pressure the most for the Scarlet Knights, committing five of Rutgers' 12 first-half turnovers. Mack led Rutgers with 13 points in the half.

Louisville didn't score its first basket of the game until nearly four minutes had elapsed, missing its first five attempts, and trailed 12-4 with 13:43 left in the first half.

NOTES: Louisville scored at least 90 points in four of its seven games in December. ... The Cardinals lead the nation in turnover margin (plus-8.2) and is sixth in fewest turnovers per game (9.6). ... The American Athletic Conference is the seventh league in which Louisville has been a member and its fourth conference in the last 20 years. ... The last time Rutgers played a defending national champion it defeated UConn 67-60 on Jan. 7, 2012. ... Rutgers G Myles Mack is third in the conference in steals (2.1), fifth in assists (4.4) and eighth in scoring (16.1) and free throw percentage (.846).
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