Cardinal Basketball

Louisville 62 – Kentucky 59: Vengeance

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Greeting cards have all been sent

The Christmas rush is through

But fans still have one wish to make

For Louisville to beat rival Kentucky!

It’s time for the 2020 version of the age-old feud, with the Cards hosting the Cats.

Usually it’s Louisville fans feeling nervous about this matchup, as no matter how bad Kentucky was before the game some fel sorcery would be invoked and lead the Cats to victory.

But this game bucked the trend with the Cards squeaking out a 62-59 win, their first since 2017  

This year’s Kentucky squad is in virtual freefall.  After blowing out Morehead State in their debut, they lost the next five straight. Cats coach John Calipari hasn’t looked older and there’s been rumors of locker room upheaval.

The Cards have been beset by injuries and while only suffering one loss to ranked

Wisconsin, they haven’t looked the best of late.

This years game is so weird, no one who scored in last years game will be playing in this matchup.

The first half the teams were neck-and-neck, with neither able to get more than four or five points ahead of the other. The first 20 minutes saw eight lead changes.

It was one of Louisville’s best shooting halves this season. They shot 36 percent from the field in the half, including 5-14 from three-point range.

David Johnson led Louisville with ten points in the first half.

The second half was much the same. The teams stayed close early in the second. With about ten minutes left to go the Cards started pulling away, getting up to a seven-point lead at one time.

But the Cats battled back and got it back to a one-point lead in the closing minutes.

Neither team played particularly well as the game wound down, with plenty of missed shots and turnovers.

The game was tied at 59 with 20 seconds left, but Kentucky had several fouls and the Cards hit most of their free throws to close the game out.

The Cats outrebounded the Cards 40-35, including 16-8 on the offensive glass, which led to 13 second-chance points for Kentucky.

Both teams had turnover issues, which their opponents converted into points on the other end.

And the good three-point shooting from Louisville in the first half didn’t carry over into the second, with the Cards only making one trey in the final 20 minutes.

Carlik Jones retuned to form, leading all scorers with 20 points. David Johnson was the only other Cardinal in double-figures with 17.

Jae’Lyn Withers led the team in rebounds with nine, almost making it a double-double with eight points.

Louisville moves to 6-1 for the season (1-0 ACC). Kentucky falls to 1-6. It was the Kentucky’s first 1-6 start since 1911.

The Cards open up the new year on the road against Boston College on January 2.

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