Cards knock off TN-Martin in opener

Taquan Dean had 18 points and 9 rebounds to lead No. 8 Louisville (1-0) to a 78-61 season opening win over Tennessee-Martin (0-1) Saturday afternoon at Freedom Hall.

Taquan Dean scored a team-high 18 points Saturday to lead No. 8 Louisville to a 78-61 season opening win over Tennessee-Martin.

"I'm excited about the victory," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. I was concerned because we (played) a good team with a lot of experience. I think our guys played a good basketball game considering it was the opening game."

Dean didn't shoot the ball particularly well, hitting only 5-17 shots from the field, including 3-13 from behind the three-point line, but came up big with 9 rebounds and 5 assists.

Three other Cardinals scored in double-figures, including sophomore forward Juan Palacios. Palacios contributed 16 points and 11 rebounds, while playing 30 minutes in his return to the court after injuring his foot last summer.

"He is very physical," TN-Martin coach Bret Campbell said. "When he is in the lineup, it changes the complexion on how you guard the post. When he and (David) Padgett are in the lineup, this will be a special team. When those young guys learn to play, they will be very good."

The Skyhawks, led by 6-5 point guard Jeremy Kelly, kept the game close throughout the first half and trailed just 31-26 at halftime.

But a 13-2 run to open the second half gave Louisville a 44-28 lead with 16:44 left, and Tennessee-Martin wouldn't get closer than eight points the rest of the way.

Terrence Williams, a 6-6 freshman who made his first career start for the Cardinals, hit 3 three-pointers and scored 11 points, while Brandon Jenkins scored 12 points, hitting 4-11 three's. And 6-9 center Brian Johnson pitched in 8 points and 8 rebounds in 15 minutes, including an authoritative one-handed slam off an offensive rebound during the second half.

Kelly, a Louisville product who played at Pleasure Ridge Park, scored a career-high 31 points for the Skyhawks. He hit 5-7 three-pointers and 10-13 free throws, and also grabbed nine rebounds to along with two assists. Kelly did commit four turnovers.

"I was proud of our effort," Campbell said. "It was a nice homecoming for Jeremy Kelly, but not nice enough. I thought we might pull something out but I knew it was going to be a tall order."

The Cardinals will return to action Sunday evening at 5:00 for an exhibition against the ninth-ranked team in the Division II ranks, Southern Indiana.

Cardinal Authority Top Stories