USA Today/Jamie Rhodes

Louisville Cardinals outlast Kentucky Wildcats in Top 10 Bluegrass clash

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A lack of discipline proved to be Kentucky's demise on Wednesday in its annual clash with Bluegrass rival Louisville.

So said John Calipari after his No. 6 Wildcats fell 73-70 to the No. 10 Cardinals in a competitive thriller at the KFC Yum! Center. 

The good news, the UK boss noted, the season is still young. 

"The biggest thing tonight is we didn't have discipline," Calipari said. "... On the 21st of December, we're not good enough to go into an opponent's court that's a Top 10 team and win. We're not. They're better than us right now."

Kentucky (10-2) entered the matchup averaging 95.2 points per game, but finished well under that clip thanks to a 40-percent shooting night from the floor, a 5-for-22 showing from the 3-point arc and a 19-of-29 effort at the free-throw line.

After scoring a UK freshman record 47 points in his last game against North Carolina, freshman guard Malik Monk was held to a modest 16 points on 6-of-17 shooting from the field and 1-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc. He had a decent look from the top of the key with a chance to send the game into overtime with two seconds remaining, but it bounced off the front of the rim.

A balanced offensive effort carried Louisville (11-1) to victory. The Cards got a season-high 22 points from junior point guard Quentin Snider, who also pulled down six rebounds and dished out five assists. Sophomore forward Deng Adel followed with 18 points, while Jaylen Johnson and Donovan Mitchell added 14 and 13 points, respectively.

Louisville matched its season average by shooting 43 percent from the field, but far exceeded what it has done to date from the free-throw line (15 of 20) and 3-point arc (6 of 14).

De'Aaron Fox led the Cats with 21 points. Bam Adebayo added 11 points and nine rebounds.

It marked the first time in six meetings between the tradition-rich programs that Louisville has won when both teams were ranked in the Top 10. The Cardinals also snapped a four-game losing streak to the Cats. 

"Really delighted with the win," UofL head coach Rick Pitino said. "... They've dominated us for a while now, so it's good to get a victory."

In this All Wildcats "Rapid Recap" feature, we touch on some quick-hitters from the Bluegrass battle...

WHAT WENT WRONG:

Much like its only other loss of the season, a narrow setback to UCLA on Dec. 3, Kentucky paid for a lack of good shot selection and decision-making. The Cats spent long stretches of the closely-contested game putting up jump shots instead of attacking the basket. Freshman guards De'Aaron Fox and Monk combined to go 2-for-12 from beyond the arc. When they did drive to the hole, Louisville's long defenders blocked or deterred many shots, a role reversal for the rivals in recent years. The Cats also lost their touch at the line when it mattered most, missing seven of their final 12 attempts.

GAME BALL:

Quentin Snider, Louisville -- The hometown kid may have had his finest performance in a Cardinal uniform. Snider was in total control of the game's pace. His patient probing of the UK defense led to many easy buckets for both himself and teammates, a stark contrast to UK's questionable shot selection.

BY THE NUMBERS:

1st - Time UK sophomore guard Isaiah Briscoe (8) failed to reach double-figure scoring this season.

2nd - Win for Pitino against a Calipari-coached UK team in 10 tries.

8-0 - Key run for the Cardinals, turning a 57-53 deficit into a 61-57 lead with 5:33 to play.

9 - Lead changes in the game to go along with 10 ties.

12 - Transition points for the Cats, one of their lowest totals of the season.

58 - Season-low field goal attempts for UK.

QUOTABLE:

"The bench is my friend. It's the only way." -- UK head coach John Calipari on solving discipline errors. 

UP NEXT:

Kentucky returns to action Thursday, Dec. 29, at Ole Miss in the Wildcats' SEC opener. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2.


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