Cards continue to improve, beat FDU 89-66

Following the 10th-ranked Cardinals 89-66 win over Fairleigh Dickinson on Wednesday night, U of L head coach Rick Pitino said that his team still has pleny of room to improve as Big East play approaches

In a game that Louisville never trailed, the Cardinals backcourt duo of Taquan Dean and Brandon Jenkins helped Rick Pitino's squad to an 89-66 win over Fairleigh Dickinson at Freedom Hall on Wednesday night.

Dean, who was perfect in six free throw attempts, led all the Cardinals with 19 points, while also grabbing 6 rebounds and handing out 4 assists.

"I think Taquan let the game come to him tonight," said U of L head coach Rick Pitino. "He didn't force it."

Junior Brandon Jenkins, who entered the game as the team's second-leading scorer, poured in 17 points, with 3 assists and 3 steals. Sophomore center David Padgett added 16 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists, while forward Juan Palacios scored 13, including 10 in the first half.

"I thought we played well, especially in the first half on defense," said Padgett following the win. "We were just focused on getting better and trying to win the game. The last few days in practice have been real good, so we just wanted to come out and get better before we go down to Miami and then start with the Big East next week."

The post-game talk following the 23-point win continued to shift towards this weekend's game against Miami in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic.

"Our effort level was sky-high [tonight]," said Pitino of his team's effort against Fairleigh Dickinson. "The guys were really energized to perform well, because they know what is around the corner. We know that we have to improve. We are going to face a tough Miami team [on Saturday]. We wanted to come out tonight and play with unbelievable effort and get ready for what lays ahead."

After the difficult road test at Miami on New Year's Eve, the 10-1 Cardinals return home and begin Big East Conference play when third-ranked Villanova visits on Thursday, January 5. Rick Pitino said that despite the rough schedule ahead, that he continues to be optimistic about his team's chances at the end of the season.

"Every single guy has so much room for improvement," Pitino continued. "If we can just hold tough in the Big East and stay upbeat and get some wins we will be fine come February. We're going to be a much better basketball team, but we're nowhere near where we need to be – we're nowhere near where we were last year. Our effort level is great, so if we can just keep improving and keep getting better, then I am very optimistic about this season."

GAME NOTES:

  • Louisville matched a season high with 14 steals against Fairleigh Dickinson, helping the Cardinals score 32 of their 89 points off turnovers.

  • Freshman point guard Andre McGee handed out a season-high five assists in 19 minutes of action. Louisville handed out 21 assists, the sixth game this season with 20 or more assists for the Cardinals.

  • Louisville's 11 three-point goals marked the sixth time this season the Cardinals have buried 10 or more threes in a game.

  • Taquan Dean hit all six of his free throws to run his string of consecutive free throws made to 19 over the last seven games.

  • Louisville's 45-36 rebounding advantage was its first in five games. The Cardinals had outrebounded their first six opponents.

  • Freshman center Jonathan Huffman scored a season-high eight points in just three minutes on the court.

  • Freshman forward Chad Millard made his first career start, contributing four points and a rebound in the game. He started in place of eight-game starter Terrence Williams, who came off the bench to produce seven points and five rebounds.


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