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CARDS Can’t Overcome Early Hole in loss to DePaul

Louisville Athletics

Blue Demons opened 16-point halftime lead with 18-2 run to close the half.

CHICAGO — December 9, 2023

Louisville men’s basketball fell into a large first-half hole and couldn’t climb out Saturday, falling 75-68 in non-conference action at DePaul.

The Cardinals (4-5) trailed 38-22 at halftime, and their comeback effort after pulling back within six in the second half fell short. Louisville shot just 40% from the field and 26% from the 3-point line.

“I was very disappointed in how we came out today,” UofL head coach Kenny Payne said. “I went into this with a week of preparation and talked about what I saw in DePaul and what I thought their team was. Don’t look at their record. I’m watching them, and they’re scoring points, they shoot the ball at a high percentage, they play with energy, they fight. Every day we prepared for that, and then we get in the game, and it felt like we played for ourselves, not for Louisville. That’s a problem.”

The game was tied at 20-all at the 5:51 mark after a basket by sophomore forward/center Emmanuel Okorafor, but DePaul finished the half on an 18-2 run, including the final eight points of the half.

The Cardinals only got a bucket from redshirt sophomore guard/forward Mike James during that stretch as the Blue Demons built a 38-22 halftime advantage.

Louisville shot 39% in the first half and missed all six of its 3-point attempts.

After a DePaul 3-pointer to open the second half, the Cardinals went on a 10-0 run with back-to-back 3s by freshman guard Ty-Laur Johnson and a layup by James. That cut the deficit to 41-32 with 17:01 remaining.

Another 7-0 UofL spurt pulled the Cards within 53-47 with 9:37 to go after consecutive putbacks by James and sophomore guard Tre White.

DePaul countered with a 7-0 run of its own to stretch the lead back to 13, and Louisville came no closer than seven the rest of the way.

James led Louisville with 18 points and six rebounds, and sophomore guard Skyy Clark added 16 points. Johnson finished with 12 points and five assists.

UofL senior forward JJ Traynor did not play due to an upper-body injury.

Jeremiah Oden paced DePaul (2-7) with 22 points. The Blue Demons shot 51% from the field.

Louisville returns home for its three final games before the holidays, starting with Arkansas State at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday at the KFC Yum! Center. The game will air on ACC Network.

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