The shots just wouldn't fall. In a game that pitted two of the nation's top defensive teams, 4th-ranked Louisville was unable to manage much of an offensive threat against top-ranked Kentucky on Saturday afternoon. The Cardinals couldn't overcome dismal shooting and fell to the Wildcats 58-50 in front of 22,812 at the KFC Yum! Center.
Louisville lost the battle on the boards by 13 and were outscored in the paint, off turnovers and second chance points, all aspects that are difficult to overcome and pull out a victory, especially against the nation's No.1 ranked team.
Player of the game
Only five Cardinals scored in the game - three reaching double-figures – making it difficult to select a player of the game.
Forward Montrezl Harrell scored 9 points and grabbed 8 rebounds, but while he played all 40 minutes, he wasn't as much of a scoring threat as Rick Pitino had hoped. Harrell scored four of the team's first six points, but didn't score again until nearly midway through the second half.
Chris Jones contributed 13 points and created difficulties for the Wildcats on defense, but he connected on just 3 of 15 shot attempts and handed out the team's only assist.
Leading the team in scoring for the fourth time this season, Terry Rozier gets the narrow nod for player of the game. The sophomore scored 15 points, collected 8 rebounds and had 2 steals with no turnovers.
Big Shot of the Game
The big shot was one that never came for the Cardinals.
Louisville had ample opportunity to find the shot that would spark a run, but each attempt would bounce off the rim. After grabbing its only lead of the game13-12 with 6:57 remaining in the first half, the Cardinals found themselves in a one possession game multiple times.
The inability to find that big shot was a team effort. Harrell, Blackshear, Mathiang, Jones and even Aaron all missed on opportunities to give the Cardinals the lead. U of L connected on just 15 of 58 shot attempts, including only 3 of 14 three-point attempts.
They Said It...
“I think the message to our basketball team was, we really had to win it with offense, because we're a little offensively challenged, especially from the three-point line. We wanted to go in to Montrezl Harrell as much as possible, but they did a very good job denying it.”
“I'll tell you the truth. We missed about eight to ten easy shots. That's a credit to them, but also we're a little offensively challenged. We've had this problem the whole year. We're working very hard at it.”
A few tip-ins...
***Saturday's game produced the fewest combined points (108) in the series since Jan. 21, 1922 when Kentucky won a 29-22 game in Lexington.
***The loss ended Louisville's 35 game non-conference winning streak at home.
***Louisville is now 4-6 all-time against No.1 ranked opponents during regular season play.
***The Cardinals one assist is the program's lowest total since at least the 1998-99 season.
***This is just the second time this season that U of L has been outrebounded.
***Harrell's 9 points ends a streak of 22 consecutive games scoring in double figures.
***The Cardinals had 10 steals against Kentucky, marking the 10th time this season that they have recorded double-digit steals.
Louisville returns to play on Tuesday when it welcomes Long Beach State to the KFC Yum! Center for a 4:00 pm tip-off.