Kent State came to the Derby City Saturday to show their 8-1 record was legit coming into the game as they initially took it to the Louisville Cardinals inside the KFC Yum! Center.
But, before the holidays began, Louisville gave their fans a blowout gift. Louisville head coach Chris Mack stressed inside-out ball to his players and was rewarded with open threes from drives and kicks from the inside.
“We beat a really good team today, I thought our guys played well,” Mack said. “I feel really good about what our team accomplished today. Kudos to our guys for being strong with the ball and making the right decision, I think we’re getting better with getting the ball in the paint and making decisions from there.”
The Flashes of Kent State came out aggressively, breaking down the Cardinal’s defense. As Louisville’s defense adjusted, it forced Kent State to run their offense late in the shot clock, forcing tough shots. Kent State went from open mid-range and three-point shots to shooting under distress.
The defense also forced seven turnovers leading to fouls that the Cardinals turned into eight points. Back-to-back three-pointers from Malik Williams with under four minutes left broke the game open for the Cardinals to have a double-digit lead.
Louisville hot-shot 60% and 67% from three en-route to a 45-28 victory. The Cardinal’s defense held the Flashes to 45% from the field and three.
Overall, the Flashes lost all the offensive flow they had during the first 10 minutes of the game. While Kent State couldn’t find their offense, Louisville found their stroke from three-point land which carried over from the first half. The final score was 83-70, closer than the score actually was.
The Cardinals shot 51 percent from the field and nine of 18 from behind the arc (a season-high 50 percent) while scoring 28 points in the paint with just ten turnovers. Cunningham shot five of six from the floor while pouring in a season-high 17 points. Dwayne Sutton scored 16 points and hit five of ten shots. Jordan Nwora finished with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds.