Pitino gets 750th career win as Louisville rolls past Arkansas

ST. LOUIS -- Rick Pitino easily got the best of another matchup against a former player. Then again, John Pelphrey was at a decided disadvantage.

Reginald Delk scored 20 points in a reserve role to double his previous career high and sparked key surges in both halves, helping Louisville (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) open with a 96-66 victory over depleted Arkansas in the Hall of Fame Showcase on Tuesday night.

"We had more numbers, we had fresher bodies," Pitino said. "I'm real proud of John Pelphrey, he's just undermanned right now."

Jared Swopshire added 10 points and 11 rebounds for his first career double-double and Pitino won in his 750th career game. Pelphrey played for Pitino at Kentucky from 1989-92, but is severely short-handed in his third season at Arkansas after suspending five players indefinitely -- including three who were identified but not charged in a rape complaint.

"I'm not really worried about whether we were worn down or not," Pelphrey said. "This is what it is right now. We're not making any excuses."

Rotnei Clarke had 16 points for Arkansas (1-1), four days after scoring an SEC-record 51 points with 13 3-pointers in the opener against Alcorn State. Marshawn Powell had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Razorbacks, who have just six scholarship players.

"I felt like they had a pretty good game plan," Clarke said. "I didn't have a lot of looks."

Pitino said controlling Clarke was a crucial element of the plan, saying "We made up our mind we were going to yell out Clarke's name on every pass."

Pelphrey expected the attention after Clarke's big opener.

"I was actually surprised I didn't see a couple of players at the airport waiting for him," Pelphrey joked. "I knew they were going to try to limit him as much as possible."

Delk scored 20 points in 22 minutes. He totaled 44 points in 28 games last season, his first at Louisville after transferring from Mississippi State, with a high of 10 points against DePaul. He had a pair of 3-pointers in the final 4½ minutes of the first half as the Cardinals outscored Arkansas 20-5 and seemingly took control with a 48-31 cushion.

Arkansas scored 14 straight points to open the second half while Louisville was 0 for 6, cutting the deficit to 48-45. The Cardinals answered with 10 straight points, seven from Delk, and pulled away from there.

"We weren't panicking," Swopshire said. "We were just waiting for that run."

Louisville has big hopes for Delk, a fifth-year senior. But he was a reserve in the opener because he's struggled in practice.

"I hit a couple of jump shots and my confidence got up," Delk said. "I showed people I can still shoot. I hope they'll be counting on me."

Louisville was 15 for 38 from 3-point range -- three off last season's best for 3-pointers made -- behind Delk (4 for 5), Preston Knowles (3 for 5) and Jerry Smith (4 for 10). Samardo Samuels added 17 points for the Cardinals, who have won six straight openers and 15 of 17.

Pitino is 25-7 against former players who are head coaches. He said it's mostly because most of the games have been at home.

"They're all very kind to me when they become head coaches and I give them an extra $20,000 guarantee and play them at home," Pitino said. "If we played them neutral I'd have a losing record."


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