The Cardinals, ranked third in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls, shot 59.6 percent from the field, including burying 7-of-12 three-point goals. Earl Clark grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds for the Cardinals while scoring eight points and handing out four assists. Louisville has won 19 straight exhibition games over the last eight years.
Samuels scored 20 of his points in the first half as the Cardinals built a 36-31 halftime advantage. But Northern Kentucky, which is ranked fourth nationally in the Division II Bulletin ranking and sixth in the NABC Division II poll, stormed back in the second half to take a 49-45 lead with 12:59 remaining. The Cardinals used a 15-5 run from that point to retake the lead for good.
Dustin Maguire kept the Norse in the game with his long-range shooting, scoring 33 points while hitting 9-of-12 three-pointers. The rare road exhibition game for the Cardinals had significant meaning for the Norse, which were playing their first game in their new 9,400-seat Bank of Kentucky Center.
Louisville will open its 2008-09 season as the Cardinals face Morehead State in the first round of the Billy Minardi Classic on Nov. 22. U of L will play six of its first seven games at home in Freedom Hall, beginning with the Minardi Classic, an event named in memory of Pitino's brother-in-law who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The Cardinals will play either South Alabama -- which posted a 26-7 record, won the Sun Belt Conference East Division title and reached the NCAA Tournament last season -- or Florida A&M (15-17 in `07-08) on Nov. 23 in the event.