U of L CardFile: Western Kentucky

Off the schneid.


And, oh how much more fun it is to write about Kenny Payne’s first victory as U of L Coach.

University of Louisville Cardinals 94, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 83.

 * * * * *

At the tilt’s first media stoppage, the game was knotted at 7.

At the next TV timeout, the Cardinals, as has been their wont, had fallen behind. 10-18.

Then something different this way came.

Jae’Lyn Withers deuce.


Fabio Basili layup off an El Ellis drive and dish.

WKU dunk.

Traded turnovers.

Basili drive and tally.


Ellis two FTs.

JJ Traynor steal.

El Ellis triple.

WKU two.

El Ellis threeball.

Media timeout.

In the 3:44 interlude, instead of folding, the Cards turned the game in their favor. The sequence included a 7-0 run and five made FGs in a row.

Best sequence of the season?


Most important sequence of the season so far?

Ab So Friggin’ Lutely.

 * * * * *

The Cardinals finished the half on an 11-2 run.

In style.

A Brandon Huntley-Hatfield long ball at the shot clock on a feed from Ellis.

Then the panache was manifest.

The visitors scored with :14 to go before intermission.

But JJ went String Music Yum! Center from distance at the buzzer.

The Cards ebulliently trotted to the locker room up 11 at the break.

To the loudest C A R D S cheer of the campaign.

(Oh, how easy it is to wax easy peasy breezy after a WIN.)

 * * * * *

To cement that Wednesday night was The Night of No Nightmares, U of L scored on five of it first six possessions of the 2d.

A Curry two on a feed from Withers.

A Huntley-Hatfield deuce in the paint.

Kamari Lands all net from beyond the arc, on another Jae’Lyn assist.

Then JW scored a fast break deuce on a feed from EE.

And BH-H added to the advantage with a +1 conversion off another Ellis assist.

The last of which plays pushed this year’s Cards into unknown territory.

+19 with 16:34 left.

 * * * * *

Though the Cards got somewhat tweedly, a smidge stagnant, and understandably nervous near the end against Western’s press and trapping zone and previous failures, they never relinquished the lead.

In fact, never allowed the losing Toppers to cut their disadvantage to single digits.

In the last three minutes, U of L showed significant mettle draining all ten of its charity tosses. (U of L was 19/20 on the night at the stripe.)

Louisville was 31/57 from the field. 54%.

That included a truly heady 13/25 three-pointers. 52%.

While holding WKU to nine percentage points below their treyball average, which was 2d in the land coming in.

 * * * * *

Live by the El, die by the El.

Against the Bowling Greeners, it was the former.

30 points (10/19), 10 assists, 4 boards. And 5 (fortunately) inconsequential turnovers.

Sidney “Welcome Back, It’s Good To See You Again” Curry: 10 points, 6 rebounds.

Kamari Lands. 15 points.

Brandon Huntley-Hatfield. 11 points.

Jae’Lyn Withers 10 and 6 with 3 assists, after a less than stellar start.

JJ Traynor 8 and 4.

Fabio Basili scored only 6, but one fellow’s opinion, gave the Cards that necessary spark instigating the first half breakaway.

(Do you understand how wonderful it is to write stuff like this, instead of woe is us, what the fazook is goin’ on?)

All this as a seven point dog against an 8-1 in- state rival. Admittedly, the Toppers haven’t played against the toughest of schedules, but have bested two schools that got the better of the Cards.

 * * * * *

Next: Florida A&M.

— c d kaplan



5 thoughts on “U of L CardFile: Western Kentucky

  1. I thought the Cards’ two three zone D they used after the media TO was highly effective. I don’t think the Toppers were expecting it.

    1. It was as if someone finally found the fuse to light up the Yum.
      The guys lit it up at both ends. They played their butts off. They flashed to the ball, dove on the floor for lose balls, made passes not heretofore seen this season. No quit. So, what do we take away? Maybe a new found confidence and a belief by this team that it ain’t so bad to win. My wife gave me a gentle nudge as the final buzzer sounded and chided me that I better drive home as well as the Cards played. It was after 11:00, well past my bed time, and also a rigorous evening. We broke all speed limits getting to the Yum from yes, Freedom Hall, where the women had just chopped up the lady Knights.

      1. Speaking of passing, I think they need to cut down on the number of cross court lobs that they did last night. They’ll be giving up a bunch of dunks to a team with quick guards.

  2. I thought that, in the end, we won the game at the free throw line. With 6:44 to go and up 15, Ellis attempted a free throw. He missed. But at 2:54 and the lead down to 11, Ellis went back to the line. He made both. At 2:15 and up 10, Lands went to the line. He made both. At 1:12 and up 10, Mike James went to the line. He made both. At 1:00, Lands again went to the line up 11 and made them both. At :23, Ellis went to the line up 12. He made them both. They converted TEN in a row. At any juncture, had those free throws been missed, WKU had the opportunity to cut what was once a 20 point lead to single digits and slice away at it five different times. They couldn’t because Louisville didn’t fold, didn’t miss from the line. This is how you win ballgames and I think those ten free throws, ultimately, were the difference.

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