By Cole Emery —
The No. 19 Kentucky Wildcats won in overtime fashion against the Louisville Cardinals 78-70 in Lexington’s Rupp Arena on Dec. 28. This game marked the 53rd match up for the two programs.
The Battle of the Bluegrass began with a slow start to the game. The Cards were able to get inside early with a dunk by senior Dwayne Sutton assisted by senior Ryan McMahon.
The game remained scoreless for three minutes early in the half until freshman Tyrese Maxey hit a three-pointer to give UK (8-3, 0-0) their first lead.
Both teams were playing intelligent defense as the first free throw shot came with eight minutes remaining in the first half after junior Jordan Nwora was able to get his first points on the board.
Typically successful from beyond the arc, the Cardinals only made one three-pointer in the first half as they went 1-11.
While the Cards (11-1, 2-0) were able to put up 31 shots compared to the Wildcats’ 23, the Cats took a 32-24 lead going into halftime.
Junior Steven Enoch and Sutton were able to put up six points a piece for the Cards. Maxey racked up 13 points, four rebounds and an assist for the Cats in the first half.
The Cats began the second half fouling more than the first half. Maxey racked up his third foul with 17:00 left in the game and was forced to go to the bench. Louisville reached the bonus with 14:30 left in the game.
Despite the foul trouble, UK was able to take their lead to 12 points. Then the Cardinals were able to put together a 15-2 run against the Cats to fight back into the game.
Graduate Fresh Kimble and Enoch made some three-pointers to keep the game close at the end.
With less than 30 seconds left in the game, Maxey was able to make an extremely acrobatic layup to give the Wildcats a 62-60 lead. Kimble was able to drive the lane and made an impressive layup even though there was a defensive shot interference call on the play. The basket took the Cards into overtime.
Nwora hit his first three-pointer with 2:20 left in the game to put the Cardinals up 68-65. Junior Nick Richards scored six points in the last minute of overtime to secure the victory for the Wildcats 78-70.
For the Cards, Enoch finished the game with 18 points and five rebounds, and Sutton finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
For the Cats, Maxey finished with 27 points, seven rebounds and an assist and Richards finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The Cards have not won at Rupp Arena in 13 years.
Louisville will face off against in-conference contender Florida State on Jan. 4, 2020 at the KFC YUM! Center at 2:00 p.m.
File photo // The Louisville Cardinal