Game Summary: Final Score – Kentucky 78 Louisville 70
This matchup between #19 Kentucky and #3 Louisville was quite the game to watch. The first two possessions resulted in turnovers for the Wildcats, and Louisville was off to a good start. Kentucky was missing open threes, and got into foul trouble early. The Cards found their success in the post early on, with Center Steven Enoch getting into a rhythm against Nick Richards.
Once Kentucky found their groove however, they controlled the game for quite some time. Guard Tyrese Maxey was scoring at will, hitting multiple threes and striking gold on drives to the hoop. Louisville star Jordan Nwora struggled to get anything going, and was held to 3 points in the second half.
Along with Maxey’s stellar play, Center Nick Richards answered the call for the Wildcats. He wasn’t scoring much, but was playing with more energy than is usually seen from him. He was rebounding at will and blocked a couple shots. Richards drew 11 fouls in this game, which turned the tide of the contest.
Louisville wasn’t going away, though. The Cardinals continued to find Steven Enoch in the post, and he was converting in the paint at a high rate. He also popped out and hit a three.
Kentucky gave up a 12 point lead in the second half, and Louisville was winning with under two minutes to go. Backup Point Guard Immanuel Quickley showed up big for the Wildcats in that time, knocking down a couple threes and converting at the line on three occasions in those final two minutes.
Louisville had the game tied with 10 seconds left, and Kentucky was ready to make a play to win it. The Wildcats missed a shot, but Keion Brooks flew out of nowhere for the putback. He came in un-guarded, and laid the ball up for what would have been the game winner. The ball rolled around every part of the rim before coming out. Overtime.
In overtime, Tyrese Maxey and Immanuel Quickley showed up again for Kentucky. Maxey hit a couple big shots, while Immanuel Quickley continued to convert at the Free Throw line. Nick Richards scored two big buckets in crunch time, with the last being an and-one conversion that resulted in a three point play.
With a few seconds left, Point Guard Ashton Hagans stole the ball, and slammed it right before time expired, to extend the Kentucky lead to 8. Kentucky wins the game.
Kentucky vs Louisville Game Stats:
For Louisville, they struggled to do much of anything from 3. They went into halftime with a 1-11 clip from beyond the arc. Louisville star Jordan Nwora shot 1-6 from three. He entered the game shooting over 40% from 3PT. Cardinal sharpshooter Ryan McMahon, who came into the game shooting 46% from three, shot 1-5 from 3PT.
Jordan Nwora was held to only 8 points. The majority of Louisville’s points came from the post. Steven Enoch finished with 18 points and 5 rebounds. Forward Dwayne Sutton posted 15 points and 10 Rebounds. Backup Guard Lamarr Kimble put up 12 points off the bench. He also contributed 4 assists. UL’s backcourt only had a combined 9 points, with Perry scoring 5 and McMahon scoring 4.
Kentucky had a much more balanced scoring game from their team. They shot 46% from the field and were 7-15 (46.7%) from three.
Freshman Guard Tyrese Maxey had a season-high 27 points, while also hauling in 7 rebounds. In the post, Nick Richards had one of his best games as a Wildcat. His 13 points and 10 rebounds made for the only double-double on the team. It could be considered an unofficial triple-double if you count his 11 fouls drawn. Backup Guard Immanuel Quickley showed out with 18 points and 3 rebounds. Kentucky Star Ashton Hagans wan’t the focal point of the team in this game, but still played well. His 8 points, 8 assists, and 5 rebounds proved valuable for the Wildcats.
As a team, Kentucky blocked 5 shots, while Louisville was unable to record a block. Both teams had 11 turnovers.
What Does This Mean for Both Teams?
Despite this loss, Louisville is in a good spot. They will likely remain in the top 10 as they enter conference play. Alongside Duke, the Cardinals are one of the best teams in the ACC. With the ACC having a somewhat down-year, it’s entirely possible that the Cardinals win the majority of their conference games. They are still a team to watch.
Kentucky was able to bounce back from a somewhat disappointing non-conference performance. After back-to-back losses, the Wildcats were able to pick up a massive win. They will either be back in the top 10, or just outside of it as they head into SEC play. The SEC is wide open this year, with no real powerhouse in the conference. Kentucky’s wins against #1 Michigan St and #3 Louisville will make Kentucky’s NCAA tournament bid look promising if they can win most if their SEC games.
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