Updated at: 02/17/2013 2:38 PM
(AP) TAMPA, Fla. - Russ Smith scored 15 points and No. 12 Louisville stayed within a game of first place in the Big East with a 59-41 victory over South Florida on Sunday.
Smith, Wayne Blackshear and Kevin Ware did all the scoring for the Cardinals during a 22-3 run in the first half. Smith finished with six rebounds and four assists for Louisville (21-5, 9-4), which has won four of five.
Blackshear’s 3-pointer tied it 11-all with 12:58 left in the first half and launched the decisive rally. Smith scored the final seven points of the spurt, which left the Cardinals with a 30-14 lead.
JaVontae Hawkins’ 3-pointer provided USF’s only points in a 9-minute span.
The Bulls (10-15, 1-12) got back in the game early in the second half with the help of a spectacular dunk by Victor Rudd and two free throws by Anthony Collins that made it 36-30 with 12:57 left. But Louisville went back to its full-court pressure, producing a 19-3 run that made it 55-33 with 6:12 remaining. Chane Behanan had a couple of dunks, a layup and two free throws during the surge.
Blackshear and Behanan scored 12 points apiece, and 6-foot-11 center Gorgui Dieng had 10 rebounds and five blocks for the Cardinals.
Jawanza Poland scored 11 points for USF, which shot 24.5 percent (13 for 53) and lost its eighth straight. Hawkins and Toarlyn Fitzpatrick had nine points apiece for the Bulls, while Rudd and Kore White each had nine rebounds.
Louisville scored 23 points off 16 turnovers and shot 46 percent (22 for 48). The Cardinals had a 36-34 rebounding advantage.
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