Louisville rolls past FDU

Fifth-ranked Louisville should move higher in the polls after cruising past Fairleigh Dickinson, 80-58, Saturday at the Yum! Center.

One Fairleigh Dickinson player had a Goode trip to the KFC Yum! Center on Saturday.

The University of Louisville men's basketball team made sure the rest of his teammates didn't, though, as the Cardinals cruised past the Knights 80-58.

Many in the crowd of 20,287 gave Fairleigh Dickinson center George Goode, who played the past three seasons for UofL, a warm welcome back. During introductions he received a nice ovation from the fans and the Louisville student section even came prepared for the occasion with a giant cut-out head of Goode.

"We're really happy with the win, really happy for George, now we can move on to the next game," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said after his team improved to 9-0.

For his part Goode, who wore red shoes and red socks, soaked up every minute of it. He embraced his former teammates before the opening tip, then started the game with a dunk.

After that, though, it was almost all Kyle Kuric, Peyton Siva, Gorgui Dieng and the Cards – who are off to their best start since they began the 1996-97 season 10-0.

Kuric scored 18 points, eclipsing the 600-point mark for his career along the way, and grabbed six rebounds. Siva scored 16 points and dished out nine assists while Dieng recorded his second straight double-double (14 points and 12 rebounds) for the Cards, who are ranked No. 4 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and No. 5 in the Associated Press Top 25.

Meanwhile Goode scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

"George played great today," UofL senior guard Chris Smith said. "It was good to see him. He's one of my closest friends. It was good to play against him too."

The Knights (1-8), who were picked to finish last in the Northeast Conference in the preseason, took their one – and only – lead on Goode's dunk.

Moments later UofL tied the game on a layup by Siva, then took the lead on another layin from the junior point guard. FDU's Melquan Bolding, who scored a game-high 23 points, tied it up with two free throws before Dieng's jumper gave Louisville the lead for good.

The Cards, who only seven assists in the first half of its victory over IUPUI earlier this week, efficiently attacked the Knights' zone defenses. UofL had assists on six straight baskets – the last a three-pointer by Smith off a feed from Kuric – to open up an early 22-10 lead.

"The first 10 minutes we attacked the zone well," Pitino said.

The UofL coach quickly went to his bench. Louisville led by as many as 19 points in the first half. The first time on two free throws from Kuric 2:39 before intermission. The second time was on Tim Henderson's three-pointer with three seconds left in the half.

The Cards, who led 44-25, shot 46.9 percent (15 for 32) in the first half. Siva and Dieng were both 4 for 6 as both had 10 points. Dieng also had nine rebounds, while Siva tallied four assists.

The second half was all academic as the Cards only outscored the Knights 36-33. Jared Swopshire and freshman center Zach Price scored six points and grabbed five rebounds apiece to lead Louisville's reserves, who outscored their FDU counterparts 20-7. Those two also helped the Cards out-rebound the Knights 50-36.

Goode received another nice ovation when he left the game with 1:03 to play.

"He's a great kid, I loved the way our fans received him, it's just tremendous," Pitino said. The Cards played without sophomore guard Russ Smith, who was out with a neck injury after sleeping wrong earlier this week, and junior forward Rakeem Buckles. Pitino said he held Buckles out just to give him more rest after his return from an ACL injury earlier this week.

"I wanted to make sure Rak's ready for the Memphis game and Russ is ready for the Memphis game," Pitino said.

Louisville now has week off for final exams before hosting Memphis (No. 20 in ESPN/USA Today poll and No. 21 in the AP poll) at 4 p.m. next Saturday. The Cards will take off Sunday and Tuesday, then practice the rest of the week with newcomer Kevin Ware.

"We've just got to come in prepared and keep our head straight," Siva said.


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