January 10, 2014

Louisville falls to Memphis

By Noah Allison

Rekindling a conference rivalry of old, the Louisville Cardinals played host to

the Memphis Tigers on Thursday night. Memphis won 73-67, putting their overall

record at 11-3, and putting Louisville’s at 13-3. The third loss of the season for the

Cardinals reveals that the young defending national champions still have some

polishing up to do.

“We have to give them credit. We didn’t play really well. We turned it over at

crucial times, got into low defense, gave up the 3 and missed free throws, but we

have to give them credit. They outplayed us,” U of L head coach Rick Pitino said.

With the score tied at 67 with one minute and thirty-one seconds left, the

Cardinals missed their last four jump shots and had a series of defensive miscues

that surrendered the lead and led to the loss.

“In the end we had a little bit of a miscommunication, some people were in a

two-three and others were in man defense. So we just had a couple of mistakes but

you just can’t have that at the end of a basketball game, especially a big game like

this in conference play,” said freshman guard Terry Rozier. “Tonight, just wasn’t our


Louisville had twelve steals to Memphis’ eight, but gave up second chance

points and failed to switch on defense at certain times. Memphis outrebounded

Louisville 37 to 35.

“Our defense is not as good this year. It hasn’t been. I hate to keep beating

that horse to death, but it hasn’t been. We had three key situations. We’re in control

of our destiny; we got in the wrong defense and then ran out of it and gave up the 3.

That may be the most bone headed play I’ve ever witnessed in my life,”Pitino said.

Senior forward Luke Hancock led the Cardinals in scoring with 20 points and

senior guard Russ Smith was second in scoring with 19 points. Sophomore forward

Montrezl Harrell led the team in rebounds with 14 and minutes played with 37.

Since the ultimate suspension of forward Chane Behanan the role of Harrell has

significantly increased. And seniors Smith and Hancock have to play their best each

and every game. That being said, none of the three captains have proven to live up

to the leadership void left by the graduation of last year’s starting point guard

Peyton Siva. Siva not only proved to be the consummate professional, but set the

Cardinals all time single season steals record with 90.

“There is no leader on the team… You have to be a defensive player to be a

leader; you can’t be an offensive player. It takes defense to win. They shot 51

percent. You can’t give up 51 percent at home and expect to win a ball game.”

Louisville is now 2-1 in American Athletic play. The Louisville-Memphis

rivalry has now covered four conferences, dating back to the Missouri Valley

Conference, Metro Conference, Conference USA and now the American Athletic

Conference. The Cardinals will play Memphis in Memphis on March 1.

The expectations for this year’s Cardinals prove not to be unfair, but it cannot

be understated that this simply is not last year’s team. Three starters from last years

line-up are not Cardinals. A third loss isn’t pleasant, but the fact that they were a

series of good plays away in all three losses should be reflective of what this team

can be come March.

“I don’t think anybody is losing faith, some people will be upset about the

way the game went tonight,” Hancock said. “But bottom line we know we are a good team, we know we have some growing to do, and hopefully we just have each others back and get better with each practice.”

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