Louisville men’s basketball returns to non-conference play against in-state foe Western Kentucky at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday at the KFC Yum! Center. The game will air on ESPN2.
The Cardinals dropped to 0-2 in ACC action Saturday with a 75-53 loss at Florida State. Western Kentucky improved to 8-1 – its best start since 2006-07 – with a 64-60 victory over Wright State on Saturday behind Dayvion McKnight’s 32 points.
Louisville is 42-40 all-time against the Hilltoppers, including 28-18 at home. The Cardinals had won nine straight in the series until Western Kentucky’s 82-72 win last year in Bowling Green.
Western Kentucky (8-1) at Louisville (0-9)
December 14, 2022 | 9 p.m. ET
KFC Yum! Center | Louisville, Ky.
Listen: Cardinal Sports Network (WLCL 93.9 FM & WGTK 970 AM flagship); Streaming (Paul Rogers, pxp | Bob Valvano, analysis)
Watch: ESPN2 (Doug Sherman, pxp | Cory Alexander, analyst)
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
• As of Monday, the combined record of all Louisville opponents from the start of the season through the end of 2022 was 87-50. The Cardinals’ opponents over the last six games have an average KenPom ranking of 54. Ten of Louisville’s 14 opponents before the end of 2022 currently have at least six wins.
• After recording six or less assists in four of five previous games, Louisville set a new season high Saturday with 14 assists at Florida State. El Ellis, Jae’Lyn Withers and Fabio Basili all recorded at least three assists.
• Guard/forward Mike James is one of 13 freshmen in the country averaging at least seven points per game, while also shooting at least 45% from the field, 38% from 3-point range and 80% from the free-throw line.
• Senior guard El Ellis has scored in double figures in seven of nine games this year. As of Monday, he was ranked 11th in the ACC in scoring at 15.6 points per game and in minutes per game (33.4).
• Junior forward JJ Traynor has made 7 of 16 3-pointers in nine games this season (43.8%). Traynor was also a combined 7 of 16 from long range across his first two entire seasons (30 total games).
• Per Ken Pomeroy, Louisville is 340th in the country in Division I experience with an average of 0.88 years. Western Kentucky ranks 32nd in the country in experience with an average of 2.79 years.
HISTORY VS. WESTERN KENTUCKY (UofL leads 42-40)
Last Meeting: Western Kentucky 82, Louisville 72
Dec. 18, 2021 | Bowling Green, Ky.
Camron Justice scored a career-high 25 points with five 3-pointers and Western Kentucky beat Louisville for the first time in their last 10 meetings, 82-72.
Seven-foot-5 Jamarion Sharp added 14 points – 10 off dunks – plus eight rebounds and four blocks. Josh Anderson had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Jairus Hamilton and Dayvion McKnight also scored 13 points each with McKnight collecting nine assists for the Hilltoppers.
Noah Locke scored 20 including four 3-pointers to lead the Cardinals with Mason Faulkner adding 12 points and Matt Cross 10.
Louisville played without 6-foot-11 Malik Williams, who averaged nearly a double-double. Williams reportedly was out because of COVID protocols.
Western Kentucky made 9 of 11 from the arc in the first half, missed all seven of their attempts in the second but still shot 50% for the game while outrebounding the Cardinals 37-28. The Hilltoppers made 25 of 31 free throws to just 5 of 7 for Louisville.
WKU led from the outset and by nine at halftime. Louisville got as close as two with 15 minutes left in the game after a Locke 3. But Justice kicked off a 21-8 run with a three-point play and capped it with two free throws with just under five minutes left.
Louisville’s final points, a jumper by Locke, cut the lead to six with 46 seconds left before five Anderson free throws ensured the win.