Cards back on track, defeat UAB

The Cardinals put a halt to their two-game losing streak by defeating the visiting UAB Blazers 73-55 on Saturday night.

The Cardinals who came into the contest against the visiting UAB Blazers reeling from two consecutive loses opened with a flurry, jumping on top of the visiting Blazers 8-0. Despite what turned out to be a poor shooting night, the Cardinals used an impressive defense to defeat UAB 73-55.

"It was a much needed win for us," said U of L head coach Rick Pitino. "We could not give UAB a two game advantage in the league. We had to get a win right now."

Less than four minutes into the game Louisville's super sophomore's Francisco Garcia entered the game within seconds of each other, with Garcia showing little effects of the injured ankle that forced him to miss the Memphis game. Garcia connected on his first two shot attempts including a three-pointer that gave Louisville a 13-9 advantage.

"I think we are over the hump with Taquan," Pitino explained afterwards.

UAB, who entered the contest atop the Conference USA race, grabbed their first lead of the game at 18-15 following a 6-0 run. The Cardinals however responded with an 11-2 run, with Kendall Dartez contributing six points during the spurt, to reclaim the lead at 26-20 with nine minutes remaining in the first half.

After the teams traded baskets over the next two minutes and with the Cardinals holding a 36-32 lead, both teams went cold from the field and failed to score from the field or from the charity stripe for the next four minutes. Luke Whitehead's follow at the 1:55 mark ended the drought and pushed Louisville ahead 38-32.

A layup by freshman Perrin Johnson helped the Cardinals equal their largest at the half 40-33.

Louisville shot just 33.3% from the field during the first half, while UAB connected on 44% of their shot attempts. Dartez led U of L with eight points and Whitehead grabbed nine first half rebounds.

Both teams opened the second failing to convert shots, however, Louisville's ability to penetrate into the lane and draw fouls helped the Cardinals build a 47-36 lead at the first media timeout.


Whitehead prepares to grab
another rebound
 (ITV)
With the Cardinals struggling to score, freshman point guard Brandon Jenkins converted three consecutive for the Cards, helping the home team to build a 55-43 lead with 8:15 remaining in the game.

Jenkins finished the contest with 8 points, 1 assist and three steals, but more importantly no turnovers.

"We practiced not turning the ball over," said Jenkins. "It was the one thing I was thinking about besides defense."

After trading points at the charity stripe, Louisville jumped out to a 15 point lead with 5:35 remaining on a three-pointer by Larry O'Bannon. A layup by Dean three minutes later put the Cardinals up 67-50.

"There was a lot of rust...I haven't touched the ball in about two weeks, but I'm getting back to it," said Dean of his return to action.

Louisville won it's 17th contest of the season 73-55.

Senior forward Luke Whitehead recorded his sixth double-double of the season with 13 points and 18 rebounds. Larry O'Bannon led the Cardinals with 15 points, while Taquan Dean added 11.


Garcia injures other ankle (ITV)
Francisco Garcia, who had been nursing a sprained ankle, left the game and did not return after injuring his other ankle.

"Francisco sprained his other ankle," said Pitino. "He could not have gone back out there. He's a tough kid. The key is that he is way out of shape."

Louisville will next travel to Charlotte for a Conference USA battle on Thursday, a game that will be nationally televised on ESPN 2.


NOTES FROM THE SIDELINE:
  • The starting lineup consisted of Jenkins and Daniels at guard, O'Bannon and Whitehead at forward and Dartez at center.
  • Francisco Garcia entered the game at the 16:50 mark of the first half
  • Taquan Dean entered the game at the 16:23 mark of the first half
  • Louisville assistant Reggie Theus was absent from the Cardinals bench as he was in Trenton, NJ attending the Prime Time Shootout.
  • Francisco Garcia started the second half.
  • UAB, who is among the nation's leaders in steals per game, was only able to muster one first half steal.
  • The Cardinals had 15 second chance points to just 4 for UAB during the opening half.
  • Garcia went down after injuring his other ankle with 15:26 remaining in the game.
  • Kendall Dartez fouled out with 4:05 left in the contest.
  • U of L out rebounded UAB 53-39.
  • Louisville shot a season low 31.9% from the field.
  • The Cardinals are now 14-1 when leading at the half.
  • U of L head coach Rick Pitino is now 4-0 all-time against UAB.


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