- Saturday, January 2 2010 -
Louisville - 62 (Head Coach: Rick Pitino) - [Unranked]
|Reginald Delk (*)||28||2||3||1||2||4||4||0||4||4||4||1||1||0||0||9|
|Stephan Van Treese||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
Kentucky - 71 (Head Coach: John Calipari) - [Ranked 3rd by AP and 3rd by ESPN/USA Today]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 27, Louisville 19
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Hartford 104 - 61|||||Georgia 76 - 68|
Game Writeup - Written by Matt May; Courtesy of The Cats Pause, (All Rights Reserved)
Cats left standing in heated rivalry game
In the days leading up to the latest edition of the Commonwealth's uncivil basketball Civil War Patrick Patterson described the feeling between Kentucky and Louisville as 'hate'.
It may not have been a strong enough description.
The two rivals staged one of the nastiest, roughest and most heated editions of their annual war before Kentucky emerged with a 71-62 victory in front of a Rupp Arena record crowd of 24,479. Even for two proud programs with a healthy distaste for one another this battle took the intensity to levels previously unseen.
"Neither team was going to give an inch," UK coach John Calipari said. "You could come out and do that bravado but it wasn't working in this game. There's too much talent and too much pride on both sides.
"They needed to (be ready) because if they hadn't been they would have been punked. This was one you had to be ready to play. You had better have been jacked up and ready to go. We dealt with it the right way, won a ball game and never lost our composure."
Calipari's last point was debatable, although Louisville had its own problems harnessing the raw emotions associated with a game that meant so much to an entire state. It took only eight seconds for officials to warn players from both teams about the extracurricular activity, as UK's Eric Bledsoe and Louisville's Reginald Delk jawed at each other after Bledsoe was whistled for a foul. Before the contest was a minute old three technical fouls had been assessed after a scramble for a loose ball, setting the tone for what was a hotly contested and sometimes downright primal affair.
By the end of a long afternoon the teams had been hit with five technical and 51 personal fouls, had more verbal spats than a Jerry Springer marathon and thrown gallons of gasoline on an already smoldering inferno.
"Did you see how the game was played?" Calipari said. "There were things grabbing, kicking, grabbing, punching, eyeball dragging, fish hooks, nose drags, everything in this game. I'm not going to say I condone any of that but this game was as physical (as it gets). (The officials) were trying to control the game. I mean, my guys were talking right off the bat. We were bumping coming in and off the court. If you were here this thing was as heated and emotional a game as I've coached in."
"It was intense," UK freshman guard John Wall added. "Eric and their guy got into it in the first 30 seconds into the game then DeMarcus got (a technical) going for a loose ball. Coach told us it would be an aggressive game and they'd try to play rough. I knew it would be a tough game."
The tone was set well before tip-off. There was bumping and woofing as the squads entered and exited the floor during pregame warm-ups and nary a handshake or fist bump as they lined up awaiting the start, sure signs that this wasn't going to be a game for the faint of heart.
The Cats jumped all over Louisville during an 18-5 start to the game but missed numerous golden opportunities to bury their feathered foe. The frigid Cardinals missed their first 16 shots on the way to a 1-of-19 beginning but managed to remain within striking distance when UK went 9:03 without a field goal. Louisville pulled within eight at halftime and pounced after the break, using a 23-14 start to take its first lead at 42-41 with 9:51 remaining.
Twenty seconds later the lead was gone for good.
Wall, who had been slowed to that point, scored on a baseline drive then got into a verbal altercation with Louisville's Jerry Smith that drew a technical foul on both. The issue seemed to ignite UK's sensational rookie, as he hit a jumper from the wing, created a steal and then hit two free throws after being fouled in transition to give UK a lead it would never relinquish.
"When the game gets a little tight and is on the line it shows you how great Wall is, it didn't faze him at all," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said.
"That's rivalry games. That's what they are all about."
In short, a little bit of hate can go a long way.
Jared Swopshire and DeMarcus Cousins fight for the ball. The scramble resulted in three technical fouls being called.
Reginald Delk (#12) and Terrence Jennings (#23) tie up Darnell Dodson
Samardo Samuels and Edgar Sosa try to clamp down on John Wall