LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Preseason All-America Russ Smith had 21 points and five assists and No. 3 Louisville outscored College of Charleston 22-3 over the final 6:41 on Saturday to pull away to a 70-48 victory in the first game of its national championship defense.
Smith’s new backcourtmate Chris Jones, last season’s junior college player of the year, added 12 points and five assists.
Charleston trailed 48-45 after freshman Canyon Barry’s hit a 17-footer with 6:55 to play. Then Smith asserted himself, hitting two free throws and driving to find forwards Montrezl Harrell and Wayne Blackshear for easy baskets that gave the Cardinals a 54-45 lead with 5:05 left. Charleston scored again with 2:42 remaining, making it 61-47 and ending a 13-0 Louisville run.
Barry, the son of Hall of Famer Rick Barry, led Charleston with 10 points.
Louisville raised its third national championship banner to the rafters before the game.
No. 11 Ohio St. 89, Morgan St. 50: Shannon Scott scored a career-high 16 points and LaQuinton Ross, also starting for the first time as a junior, had 14 points and a personal-best 11 rebounds for Ohio State.
Lenzelle Smith Jr. led the way with 18 points and spurred a first-half spurt for the Buckeyes, who improved to 93-18 in home openers and 89-22 in season debuts.
Justin Black had 13 points, Ian Chiles 12 and Anthony Hubbard 11 for Morgan State, which was meeting the Buckeyes for the first time.
Sam Thompson added 14 points and freshman Marc Loving had 10 for Ohio State. Scott had seven assists to go with his 16 points, while Ross registered his first career double-double.
No. 15 Gonzaga 100, Bryant 76: Sam Dower had 21 points and a career-high 17 rebounds to lead Gonzaga past Bryant in the season opener for both teams.
The 6-foot-9 senior, making his eighth start for the Bulldogs, shot 8 of 13 from the field and posted his second career double-double.
Gerard Coleman, a transfer from Providence, scored 15 points for Gonzaga before a sellout crowd of 6,000 at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Junior guards Gary Bell Jr. and Kevin Pangos added 14 apiece, and Przemek Karnowski had 10 points despite playing only 12 minutes due to foul trouble.