Cards say they were anxious against Nova

Taquan Dean and David Padgett provided their thoughts on Louisville's 76-67 loss to third-ranked Villanova. Dean played just 18 minutes because of foul trouble, while Padgett led the Cardinals in scoring with 17 points on 8-9 shooting from the field.

Louisville guard Taquan Dean never got a chance to make an impact in a 76-67 loss to third-ranked Villanova Thursday night.

That's because the 6-3 Dean picked up his third foul less than 10 minutes into the game, and played just 18 minutes against the Wildcats. Dean picked up his fourth foul early in the second half and had to sit and watch his teammates from the bench most of the night.

"One of them was a foul, the other ones I'm not sure," Dean said. "I had a lot of energy. I guess I was a little too anxious out there."

Dean scored 9 points and grabbed 5 rebounds, but the Cardinals needed a bigger effort from their leader to have a chance against Villanova. Though Villanova hit just 6 three's, the Wildcats dominated the taller Cardinals on the boards, out-rebounding Louisville 42-34, and out-scored U of L 38-26 in the paint.

"We've just got to get better and rebound," Dean said.

Without Dean in the line up, David Padgett led the Cardinals with 17 points, 6 rebounds and two blocked shots. But Padgett also committed four turnovers and admitted to a case of early stage freight against the highly-ranked Wildcats.

"I was nervous, I was just going too fast at the beginning," Padgett said. "I was dropping rebounds and passes. I've just got to relax and play basketball and that's what I tried to do in the second half."

Pitino said the 6-11 Padgett plays much better when he's under control.

"David's just got to learn to relax at the beginning of the game," Pitino said. "He's got to relax and catch the ball. When he relaxes, he plays good basketball and makes good decisions."

The Cardinals shot just 43 percent from the field, and made only 3-20 three's. Dean thought the games outcome might have been different if they had stuck to their game-plan.

"It was the first Big East game and guys were anxious and that didn't play into our favor," Dean said. "If we would have stuck with the game plan and got the ball in the middle that wouldn't have been a factor. Their guards were denying everything and switching, so you have to get it into (Padgett and Palacios) to open it up."

While Dean sat on the bench watching, several freshmen were pressed into action. Chad Millard scored a career-high 11 points, Andre McGee had 5 points and 3 assists, while Bryan Harvey added five points off the bench. The Cards often had three freshmen on the court at the same time against the Wildcats.

"We're always going to have inexperience out there," Pitino said. "That's who we are."

Though Louisville tried mightily to cut into Villanova's lead throughout, the Cardinals simply couldn't make the shots or get the stops on defense when they needed them most.

"We just couldn't get over the hump and make certain shots," Dean said.

"It seemed like we couldn't close the gap," Padgett added. "Whenever we'd make a little run they'd do something, which shows how good a team they were. Those guys just came in and played their game. They did a good job of taking high percentage shots and just playing smart on defense.

Louisville will travel to Providence this Saturday for a game against the Friars.

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