UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Chris Jones scored 15 points to lead No. 3 Louisville to a 71-57 victory over Fairfield on Saturday in the Hall of Fame Tipoff Tournament.
Montrezl Harrell added 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Cardinals (5-0), who extended their winning streak to 21 games, including last season’s run to the NCAA championship.
Maurice Barrow paced Fairfield (1-4) with 14 points and Marcus Gilbert chipped in with 11.
Louisville, which has three national titles, will be looking for its 27th title in a regular-season tournament when it faces No. 24 North Carolina in Sunday’s championship game. The Tar Heels beat Richmond, 82-72 in Saturday’s first semifinal.
The Stags stayed with the Cardinals for much of the first half and led 11-9 midway through it. But Louisville went on a 28-12 run to close the half and led by as many as 21 after the break.
Louisville, which was playing its first game away from home this season, got a balanced scoring effort. Wayne Blackshear had 11 points and Russ Smith added 10 points and seven rebounds. Luke Hancock, who has been recovering from a strained left Achilles, had nine points in 17 minutes, and was 7 of 7 from the foul line.
The teams combined for 53 fouls in what was far from a crisp contest.
Louisville, which came in averaging just six turnovers, the best in the nation, had eight before halftime and 14 in the game. Fairfield used a full-court press to rattle the Cardinals’ vaunted guards. Jones and Smith each gave the ball away four times.
But Rick Pitino’s press was also effective, forcing Fairfield into 19 turnovers.
Neither team shot well. Louisville, which came in making almost 50 percent of its attempts from the field, hit just 38 percent and the Cardinals were just 2 of 14 from 3-point range.
Fairfield fared just as poorly, hitting on just 34 percent, while going 5 of 15 from behind the arc.
The Stags led 9-4 early. A jumper by Harrell tied the game at 11 and started the run that put the Cardinals in control. Hancock’s layup off a Fairfield miss gave Louisville a 37-23 halftime lead.
Another shot by Harrell gave Louisville its first 20-point lead at 49-28, with 12 minutes left. Fairfield cut the deficit back to 51-36, but could not get closer than 14.
It was 59-40 when Harrell picked up his fourth foul and 62-43 when Smith picked up his fourth. But by then, the game had been decided.
Chris Jones took charge down the stretch. He had all but two of his points in the second half.
The Cardinals’ 21-game winning streak is the longest in school history.
Fairfield (1-4) has lost four in a row. The Stags were picked to finish sixth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference preseason coaches’ poll.
This was the first meeting between the two programs.
Louisville is now 156-37 in non-conference games under Pitino.
Fairfield fell to 0-50 all-time against ranked opponents, dating back to the 1949-50 season.