By Matt Bradshaw–
In their third loss of the season, men’s basketball (10-3) was smashed 90-61 by Kentucky (10-2) at Rupp Arena in Lexington. Fouls were Louisville’s Achilles heel, as the Cardinal defense sputtered and died with three starters in foul trouble.
Acting coach David Padgett said the final score speaks for itself.
“We were in (the game) for a while and then we got in foul trouble. You have to give (Kentucky) a lot of credit, they responded from a loss,” Padgett said. “They made more plays than we did.”
Louisville committed 25 fouls, leading to 30 free throw attempts for the Wildcats.
Junior Ray Spalding led the team with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds. V. J. King scored 12 with four rebounds. Quentin Snider added seven points with four assists.
The 29-point loss is Louisville’s biggest at Rupp Arena since 1986, when the Wildcats defeated the Cardinals by 34.
The Wildcats began the game with a quick 5-0 run, which the Cardinals followed with a 11-0 run of their own. The contest was back-and-forth until the game was tied at 21-21.
Louisville initially had the edge in both shooting and rebounding, but foul trouble put senior Anas Mahmoud and Spalding on the bench. The Wildcats took advantage of the Cardinals’ loss in size and asserted themselves in the paint, making a 20-5 run to end the first half.
Kentucky led 41-27 to start the second half. Mahmoud put himself back on the bench two minutes into the half. With limited rim protection, Wildcats found themselves leading 54-33 with 15 minutes to play.
A lackluster shooting performance further hindered the Cards. U of L came into the game shooting 48 percent from the field and 46 from three, they shot 35 against UK, including 3-of-25 from three.
Meanwhile, UK shot 48 percent from the field and 46 percent from the 3-point range. They out-rebounded Louisville 44-37 and added 35 bench points to Louisville’s 13.
Kentucky led 69-39 with 10 minutes to play. Louisville failed to come within striking distance for the rest of the game.
Louisville begins conference play and faces Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Jan. 2 at home.
Full press conference here.
You can follow Matt Bradshaw on Twitter @bradmatt8.
Photo by Taris Smith / The Louisville Cardinal