By: Jason Krell
After a historical 0-9 start for the men’s basketball team, many fans began asking themselves, “Is Kenny Payne the right person to lead this team?” It is highly uncommon for a coach to be shown the door following their first year as a head coach and much less in the middle of the season. Following a 27 point loss to the Miami Hurricanes on December 4th, Payne stated, “For me, theres only one way for us to win and thats for us to play with real desperation, real fight, real determination–inch-by-inch, yard-by-yard in every aspect of the game.”
At Long Last
Louisville finally found themselves in the win column following an 11 point victory over in-state foe Western Kentucky. Senior El Ellis led all scorers notching a double double, his first of the season. Freshman Kamari Lands also added 15 off the bench, his highest of the year. The Cards were in complete control of the Hilltoppers as it seemed they had finally turned the corner and gotten things to click on the court.
As confidence soared, so did senior big man Sydney Curry in the following game against Florida A&M. Curry totaled a season high in points and rebounds as Louisville carefully hung on for a six point victory. In a quote following the win, Curry said, “It felt good, coming in with a good mindset to just play hard. When you play hard, everything else takes care of itself. It felt good to come in, win a good game, and get a good win.”
Louisville plays host to Lipscomb on Tuesday 12/20 with tipoff set for 6pm where they’ll look to gain their third straight before hitting the road to Raleigh, NC to face N.C. State. If the Cards play the way they played against Western Kentucky, this is a very solid team and can even find themselves winning a handful of games in conference play. Kenny Payne may have finally gotten through to his players as it resulted in two straight wins. Only time will tell if that was a fluke or that the Cards are officially back
Photo Courtesy // Karthik Kalvakuri | Louisville Athletics //