Russ Smith scored 23 points, Gorgui Dieng had 6 points and 16 rebounds, and Louisville, playing just hours after it moved to No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, used a strong second half to beat Connecticut, 73-58, at the XL Center in Hartford Monday night.
The Cardinals (16-1, 4-0 Big East) won their 11th straight game.
Omar Calhoun led the Huskies (12-4, 2-2) with 20 points while Shabazz Napier added 12, all but 2 in the first half. Ryan Boatright had 11 points and he and Napier both had six assists for the Huskies, who were coming off a win over then-No. 17 Notre Dame that was their sixth in seven games.
UConn took a 34-28 halftime lead and scored the first basket of the second half for a 36-28 lead but that’s when Louisville started looking like the No. 1 team in the country.
The Cardinals went on an 8-0 run, part of a 19-5 burst that gave them a 47-41 lead with 12:18 to play.
Louisville shot 60.7 percent in the second half (17 of 28) and hit an even 50 percent for the game.
The only other time Louisville was ranked No. 1 was the final poll of 2008-09.
In the rest of the poll, Indiana, which jumped from fifth to No. 2, drew 13 first-place votes. Duke, which dropped two spots to third, had 14.
No. 4 Kansas and No. 5 Michigan, which had been second, each got a first-place vote.
Kansas rolled Baylor at home, 61-44, but lost Ben McLemore in the final minutes with a right ankle injury after scoring 17 points Monday.
USC cans O’Neill
Kevin O'Neill was fired as Southern California men’s coach after 3½ years during which he failed to turn around a program weighed down by NCAA issues that preceded his arrival and a string of player injuries.
O'Neill had a 48-65 record, including 7-10 this season after going 6-26 last year.
Veteran assistant Bob Cantu will serve as interim coach.
Athletic director Pat Haden said it was evident that the program needed new leadership.
USC has lost nine of its last 13 games, which included a five-game skid.
Hanlan top freshman
Boston College freshman Olivier Hanlan was voted the Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Week after averaging 17.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 3.5 steals in two conference road games. It is his second time receiving the award. Teammate Joe Rahon earned the honor last week . . . Wyoming suspended second-leading scorer Luke Martinez indefinitely after a bar fight in December that resulted in a broken finger. Martinez, a senior guard, was arrested Sunday on a charge of aggravated assault, according to Laramie, Wyo., police . . . Prosecutors dismissed a sexual abuse charge against Iowa State player Bubu Palo. Palo was suspended from the team in September after being charged with sexually abusing a woman he was driving home in May. Palo’s attorney Matthew Boles said his client is expected to be reinstated to the team. Iowa State athletic department spokesman Mike Green said the school has no comment on Palo’s status.
Baylor stays on top
Baylor remained the No. 1 choice in the AP women’s poll. The Lady Bears received 34 first-place votes and now own the longest active conference winning streak, 32 straight games in the Big 12. Notre Dame, UConn, Duke, and Kentucky round out the first five. Michigan enters the poll, at No. 25, for the first time since 2002. The only active ranked team, No. 12 Purdue, needed triple overtime to top visiting Ohio State, 82-75. Sam Ostarello had 22 points, 19 rebounds, and 8 blocks.