LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — In its first home game of the season Sunday, Louisville at times looked like it was in midseason form against Youngstown State.
However, coach Chris Mack still found at least one flaw his No. 5 Cardinals need to fix.
Jordan Nwora scored 21 points and Steven Enoch added 17 points and a career-best 14 rebounds the Cardinals (2-0) to a 78-55 victory over the Penguins (1-1).
The Cardinals benefitted from some streaky shooting to start both halves. They made the first 11 shots to jump out to a 24-8 lead and then started the second half making seven of their first nine shots to put away the Penguins (1-1).
In the first half, Louisville shot 53.3% and held Youngstown State to just 35.3%, but after a Darius Quisenberry 3-pointer before the buzzer, the Penguins found themselves just down 38-31 at halftime. That was due to their ability to offset their get second chances.
For the game, Youngstown State outrebounded Louisville 46-38, thanks to 19 offensive rebounds that led to 23 second-chance points. It's an issue Mack brought up with his team both at halftime and after the game as well.
"We are very early into the season," Mack said. "We are far from a finished product, but I know this: We have to get much better in that area."
Youngstown State couldn't carry the momentum into the second half as they missed 13 of their first 17 second-half shots, allowing the Cardinals to lead 60-41 midway through the second half.
That lead would grow to as much as 24 points.
Nwora made 10-of-16 shots, while Enoch hit on 8-of-14. Ryan McMahon added 16 and sank 4-of-7 3-pointers as Louisville shot 50.8% overall.
"There's just so many guys out there who can shoot the ball," Youngstown State coach Jerrod Calhoun said. "That's their biggest strength. I don't know if there's a team out there that shoots it like these guys."
Naz Bohannon led the Penguins with 14 points as six of his seven rebounds came off the offensive glass. Quisenberry added 11.
PERRY'S BEST GAME
Louisville posted 22 assists on its 33 buckets. Darius Perry led the way by doling out a career-best 12 to go with 10 points for his first career double-double.
Nwora said it was his teammate's best game yet, but Perry tried to downplay his feat some.
"I don't think I did anything spectacular," he said. "I just knew my teammates made shots, and I got them the ball."
Even with the double-double, Mack was just as impressed with the junior's play on the other end of the court. That started on the Penguins' first possession as Perry drew a charge as Quisenberry drove to the hoop. He helped hold Quisenberry, the Penguins top scoring threat, to just 3-of-13 shooting and forced three turnovers.
With solid victories in its first two games, Louisville looks poised to not only stay in the top five but vault over Michigan State and Duke, both of whom lost on Tuesday, and find itself in the top three when the next poll comes out Monday.
Youngstown State: After dispatching Division III Thiel College by 48 points in their season opener, the Penguins looked like they would quickly find themselves on the opposite end of such a beatdown Sunday. However, they more than held their own against a bigger Louisville team, using 11 first-half offensive rebounds to generate 16 second-chance points and stay in the game until, as Calhoun noted, Louisville's talent took over in the second half.
Louisville: The Cardinals shot better than 50 percent from the floor for the second straight game. While there were some defensive issues inside during the first half, the Cardinals got those corrected in the second half and eventually put away the Penguins.
Youngstown State travels to Lafayette, La., on Friday to face Louisiana.
Louisville hosts Indiana State on Wednesday night.