The University of Louisville basketball team were outplayed by Kentucky yesterday – particularly up front, and U of L power forward Montrezl Harrell didn’t have his A-game. “They just outworked us, they outhustled us to every loose ball and they played like they wanted to win the game and we didn’t,” the sophomore Motrezl said in a somber locker room after the No. 6 Cardinals fell to the No. 18 Wildcats 73-66 on Saturday in Rupp Arena.
The Cards (11-2) got good offensive production from their guards in hanging close to UK (10-3), but a lack of production from the forwards and centers led to their undoing. Louisville got only 16 points combined from their starters:- Harrell, Mangok Mathiang and Wayne Blackshear and their backups Chane Behanan as well as Stephan Van Treese. The Louisville Cards, shorter at every position than the Kentucky Cats, lost the rebounding battle 44-36, their largest deficit this season. UK had a 17-12 edge in offensive rebounds and outscored U of L 17-6 on second-chance points.
Guards Russ Smith (19 points) and Chris Jones (18) helped the Louisville Cards take a 52-51 lead with 11:01 to play. Smith, Jones and wing player Luke Hancock, who played 28 minutes while Blackshear dealt with foul trouble, took 44 of U of L’s 58 shots for an offense that never seemed to find a rhythm and hit only 39.7 percent.