CRAWFORD | Jones still out, Cards fly out early for USF - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Jones still out, Cards fly out early for USF

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — University of Louisville guard Chris Jones will not travel to Wednesday night's game against South Florida (7 p.m., ESPNU) but is expected to resume workouts with the team on Friday and should be available for next Thursday's home game against Cincinnati, Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said today.

Otherwise, Pitino said he's taking a healthy team to Tampa. He had to scrub a scheduled news conference today because weather conditions prompted the team to take a charter flight to Florida earlier than planned.

He told WDRB by phone that junior guard Wayne Blackshear, who fell hard on his left hip late in Saturday's win at UConn, suffered no ill effects and will be ready to play.

Pitino still was pleased with the UConn effort, a 76-64 win in Storrs, even after watching the video.

"We played very, very well," he said. "We stuck to the scouting report as well as any game this season. The more we do that, the better we're going to get. I am just mainly impressed with Montrezl Harrell. He finally got in the low post and really worked, and that made us a more physical team."

Some of that was by design -- Pitino inserted some sets to get Harrell the ball low -- and some of it has developed with two-man play between Harrell and Luke Hancock.

Harrell is averaging 12 points and 9.3 rebounds in six conference games, and has double-doubles in three of the past four games. Hancock is averaging 16.2 points in conference play, eighth-best in the league. 

They aren't the only players heating up against AAC competition. Russ Smith is averaging 21.5 points in conference play and is a blistering 17 of 28 (60.7 percent) from three-point range in six AAC games.

The Cardinals have won three straight games with Rozier starting at point guard, but Pitino doesn't expect any issues working Chris Jones right back into the rotation, given the number of minutes Jones and Rozier have been forced to play.

South Florida is coming off back-to-back losses to fall to 10-8 overall, 1-4 in the American Athletic Conference. But the Bulls took Cincinnati to the wire in a 61-54 loss and outrebounded UC 36-31. The Cardinals, whose rebounding has improved over the past several games, will be tested on the boards again.

"This team is better than their record," Pitino said. "They gave Cincinnati all they wanted. We're going to try to press them more than we pressed UConn. We really couldn't press them because of their guard play, but we'll try to get more pressure on in this game."

Since losing to Memphis, U of L has held three opponents to 34.5 percent shooting from the field.

"We're playing better," Pitino said. "But we really have to be a team that focuses in on scouting and execution every game."

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