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Cardinals Outlast the Retrievers; Louisville 94 – UMBC 93

Louisville, Ky – November 6, 2023 – Matthew Hudson

Louisville kicked off the 2023-2024 season against the UMBC Retrievers. The Louisville Cardinals struggled mightily last year under 1st year coach Kenny Payne and finished the season 4-28. The Cardinals were looking to get this season off on the right foot with a win. While the season has barely even started Coach Kenny Payne has reportedly already been on the hot seat so a good start to the season is crucial for his future in Louisville.  

Tonight was a special night in Louisville even without the basketball game as the University of Louisville honored Legendary Coach Denny Crum throughout the game. The moment of silence before the game, video clips from former players during the game, and the dedication of his own permanent seat at the KFC Yum Center during halftime showed just how much Denny meant to this organization and this city.

1st Half

The Cards and Retrievers seemed to be evenly matched for most of the 1st half. With just over 6 minutes left in the 1st Half the Retrievers went on a 15-2 run to take a 46-33 lead. The Cardinals made a small run to cut the lead to just 8 points at the Half. The same problems that ailed the Cardinals last season seemed to be present this year as well. The lack of an outside shooting threat was letting the UMBC defense back up and neutralize the Cardinals size advantage. The Retrievers outscored the Cardinals 15-3 from behind the 3-point line.

2nd Half

The Cards come out red hot to start the 2nd half. A 12-2 run sparked but some suffocating defense puts Louisville back in front just 3 minutes into the 2nd half. The Retrievers were able to withstand the run and extended their lead to 8. The 2nd half turned out to be a half of runs as each team, just when it looked like one team could pull away the other team would make a run of their own to tie it back up. Louisville’s struggles from deep continued in the second half but they adjusted and took the ball to the goal and were able to either draw fouls or finish at the rim.

The MVP of the night for the Cardinals had to be Mike James. He was the most consistent scorer on the night and was exceptionally good at getting to the free throw line. James finished the game with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Skyy Clark was also impressive in the game, while he only had 11 points, he was the go to ball handler in crunch time and kept the Louisville Cardinals under control in crucial moments.

The Louisville Cardinals pulled this one out with some great last second plays by their defense. The Cardinals dominated in the paint and outscored the Retrievers 60-42. This helped hide the fact that UMBC outscored Louisville 33-6 from the 3-point line. This was a good hard-nosed win for the Cardinals, and they showed a lot of improvement from last season but they still have a lot of room to grow.

Up next the Cardinals face the Chattanooga Mocs on November 10, 2023 at the KFC Yum Center at 7:00 PM.

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