Cards roll past Carleton in exhibition opener

Louisville big men David Padgett and Derrick Caracter led the Cardinals to an impressive 82-49 exhibition win Monday night over Carleton University at Freedom Hall.

David Padgett has been the best player in University of Louisville basketball practice over the last week according to coach Rick Pitino.

Tonight Padgett showed the 17,244 at Freedom Hall, and the others watching on TV, what he's been doing behind closed doors.

Padgett scored 18 points – thanks to perfect shooting from the field – and grabbed 13 points in 26 minutes to lead Louisville to an 82-49 win over Carleton in the first exhibition game of the 2007-08 season for the Cardinals, who are No. 6 in the ESPN/USA Today preseason Top 25.

David Padgett had 18 points and
13 rebounds. (Troy Turbeville)
"He's been playing great basketball," Pitino said. "He's been getting in better shape for someone who went five and a half months of not picking up a basketball he's been the best player in practice the last week."

Derrick Caracter added 21 points and 10 rebounds in only 18 minutes, while Terrence Williams had 12 points, six assists and five rebounds in 28 minutes.

"(Padgett's) a fifth year senior, that's what we expect," Williams said of the UofL senior center. "He's a good player and he brings it every day in practice."

Practice made perfect for the 6-foot-11 Padgett from the field, where he was 7 for 7, as he dominated inside using his decided height advantage – the Ravens didn't have a starter taller than 6-7.

"It's a good first game," said Padgett, who added that he didn't know that he was perfect from the field when he left the game, but did realize that he was 4 of 6 from the foul line. "I knew I missed some free throws (though), that really bothered me."

Padgett has been bothered by injuries, most significantly to his knees, for most of his career at UofL, but in the locker room afterward he said he's at full strength entering this season.

"My knees are 100 percent healthy right now," he said. "This is the best I've felt since my first year here."

Padgett got the Cards off and rolling against Carleton, which has won the last five Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) national championships and came in with a 7-2 record in exhibition games this fall, scoring the first basket of the game on a pass from Edgar Sosa.

"We did a very good job of taking high percentage shots and I think we did a good job of passing the ball," said Padgett, who also had two assists, one block and one steal.

Louisville, which beat Carleton 67-66 in an exhibition game in Ottawa last year, led 44-29 at halftime thanks to 11 points from Padgett and 47.1 percent (16 of 34) shooting, including 6 of 12 from three-point range.

The Cards used their collective hot hand to build an early double-digit lead. Earl Clark's three – UofL's fifth in five tries – gave Louisville a 24-13 lead with 12:15 left in the half.

Carleton cut the Cards' lead to 27-22, causing some murmurs among the crowd, but UofL scored six in a row – four by Padgett – to push its lead back to 11. The Cards increased that cushion to 15 by intermission.

Padgett was 4-for-4 from the field and 3-for-5 from the foul line and also grabbed eight rebounds in 17 first-half minutes. T-Will added seven points and four rebounds while Caracter had five points, seven rebounds and three fouls in seven minutes.

Derrick Caracter had 21 points and
10 rebounds. (Troy Turbeville)

Aaron Doornekamp, a 6-7 forward who is a member of the Canadian national team, led Carleton with 11 points thanks in large part to 9 of 12 free throw shooting.

Fouls (Louisville committed 13) and free throw shooting (the Cards were 6 of 17 for 35.3 percent) were the only black eyes on Louisville's otherwise spotless first half.

The Cards held Carleton scoreless for the first 5:39 of the second half as they increased their lead to 22 after a free throw by Jerry Smith.

Louisville cruised from there as Caracter capped the win with a couple of exclamation dunks in the waning minutes.

UofL shot 46.8 percent (29 of 62) from the field, while holding the Ravens to 30.9 percent shooting (17 of 55), including just 3 of 21 (14.3 percent) from three-point range.

"We did a very good job of executing our full-court and half-court offense," Pitino said. "Our offense tonight was very good, but our defense was not."

UofL hosts Georgetown College at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Goode doesn't dress
George Goode, a 6-7 freshman from Raytown, Mo., did not dress for the exhibition game in what appeared to be a precautionary move as UofL awaits word on his eligibility.

"I'm not sure what's going on there," Pitino said afterward. "You're eligible, then you're not eligible, I don't know what's happening there with the NCAA."

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