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December 28, 2013

3 reasons Louisville lost at Kentucky




No. 4 Louisville fell 73-66 at No. 18 Kentucky Saturday in Rupp Arena. What happened? CardinalSports.com's Howie Lindsey spoke with Louisville coach Rick Pitino and players after the game.

1. LACK OF REBOUNDING
At one point in the first half, Louisville was getting out-rebounded 22-11. Even though the Cardinals closed the margin some by the end of the game, UK out-rebounded Louisville 44-36.

Prior to the game, Rick Pitino said he was very concerned about UK's size at the four and five spot and that was clearly an issue for the Cardinals. Outside of Chane Behanan, who had seven rebounds, and Stephan Van Treese's five, Louisville's other front line players were out-muscled throughout the game.

"Playing a couple of teams this year from a physical standpoint, we are getting outplayed in the three, four and five spots physically," Pitino said. "Never mind the execution-wise, we are just getting taken on the backboard, taken inside and we have to improve in those areas."

Montrezl Harrell had four rebounds, Mangok Mathiang had three and Wayne Blackshear had three. UK dominated second-chance points 17-6.

LACK OF TURNOVERS
Kentucky's big men handled Louisville's press with aplomb. What Louisville likes to do is take the ball out of the hands of guards and into the hands of big men by pressuring the guards in the backcourt.

Once the ball is handled by a forward or center the Cardinals are adept at snagging turnover and turning them into points. Not in this game.

"I give them credit," Pitino said. "They did a good job against our pressure."

UK's young guards had seven turnovers but the rest of the team had just four with four players playing without a turnover.

Rus Smith, who is zeroing in on Louisville's all-time steals record, finished the game with just one steal. Three of Kentucky's turnovers came on dead-ball situations.

Louisville needed a serious advantage in the press, but the teams tied with 14 points off turnovers.

ALEX POYTHRESS
Julius Randle was a beast in the first half, scoring 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting. In the second half he was hampered with cramps, and was not able to contribute.

With Randle out, Kentucky actually increased its lead.

When we asked Louisville small forward Luke Hancock about Randle going out, he had a quick answer.

"Well, they replaced him with Poythress and he isn't bad either," he said.

And he was right. At one point Poythress' plus-minus rating was a game-high 23. He finished with seven points and five rebounds in 21 minutes, most in the second half.


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