INDIANAPOLIS — Russ Smith is just sick.
The Louisville star had another big game Friday night, matching his career high with 31 points as the Cardinals overcame a late Oregon rally for a 77-69 win. Through three tournament games, Smith is averaging 27 points.
Making it even more impressive? He's got a nasty cough – he hacked his way through the postgame interviews – and it's now making its way around the Louisville locker room.
"Russ has infected our entire team with a ridiculous cold," coach Rick Pitino said. "We just had to get our guys through it and hopefully we'll get better. The only problem is, on every timeout, Russ is hacking in our faces. Every 30 seconds, just like this. So keep your distance, or you'll all have pneumonia in the morning like Gorgui (Dieng) and me."
Peyton Siva has Smith's cold, too, and it showed in his play. He played only five minutes in the first half after picking up two quick fouls, and he looked sluggish when he was on the floor. He finished with four points on 1-of-5 shooting, and had four turnovers to three assists.
But Siva won't hold it against Smith.
"If he continues to play sick and get 30-plus, I'd send him out with a cold every day," Siva said.