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    The University of Louisville men’s basketball team let 15-year-old Patrick McSweeney score Bellarmine University’s first basketball of the game, but turned up the defensive heat after that.

    The Cardinals held the Knights to 32 percent shooting in the first half, while shooting 56.7 percent themselves, as they built a 29-point halftime lead and cruised to an 82-57 victory in their final exhibition game Sunday in front of 20,432 at the KFC Yum! Center.

    Junior forward Montrezl Harrell had game-highs in points (17) and rebounds (nine) to lead UofL in its bombing of Division II Bellarmine. Senior swingman Wayne Blackshear added 16 points, senior point guard Chris Jones contributed 14 and sophomore guard Terry Rozier tallied 10 as the Cards warmed up for Friday’s season-opener against Minnesota.

    After Jones hit a 3-pointer 23 seconds into the game McSweeney, a sophomore at St. Xavier High School who is battling leukemia, air-balled a 3 from the top of the key. Rozier graciously gave the ball back to BU moments later. McSweeney then drove to the basket and narrowly missed a layup. Josh Sewell grabbed the rebound and gave it back to McSweeney for a short jumper. He connected 1 minute, 11 seconds into the game.

    However that was pretty much the high point for the Knights, the 2011 D-II national champion. Louisville scored eight straight - including five by Jones - to take control early.

    After McSweeney’s basket Bellarmine was just 7 for 22 from the field - including 1 of 11 from 3-point range - for the remainder of the half as the Cards clamped down on the Knights. UofL turned 12 BU turnovers into 19 first-half points. "The first half was about as well as we've played all year," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "That was a great half of basketball in every phase of the game. Pressing, offense, defense, ball movement, rebounding. It was really outstanding. Chris Jones did a tremendous job. All the guys did a great job in the first half."

    Louisville cruised from there. Seven-foot freshman Anas Mahmoud, who got the surprise start at center, scored four points and snared seven boards for UofL, which outrebounded Bellarmine 49-30. Jones added four steals and four assists.

    UofL shot 47.5 percent (29 for 61) for the game, including 34.6 percent (9 of 26) from 3-point range. The Cards, though, missed 10 of their 25 free-throw tries and had 21 turnovers.

    Louisville plays Minnesota in the Armed Forces Classic in a father vs. son battle (Rick Pitino vs. Richard Pitino) at 7:30 p.m. Friday night at the U.S. Air Station in Borinquen, Puerto Rico.

    Photo courtesy University of Louisville Men’s Basketball Facebook Page

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