- Saturday, December 28 2002 -
Kentucky - 63 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 14th by AP]
Louisville - 81 (Head Coach: Rick Pitino) - [Unranked]
|Marvin Stone (*)||30||4||7||0||0||8||12||2||5||7||3||1||0||2||3||16|
Halftime Score: Kentucky 33, Louisville 30
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Indiana 70 - 64|||||Tennessee State 115 - 87|
Game Writeup - Written by Matt May; Courtesy of The Cats Pause, (All Rights Reserved)
Cards beat Cats, 81-63
The hype leading up to the annual state grudge match between Kentucky and Louisville centered around two former Cats who had traded in their blue and white for Cardinal red and black.
When the dust settled in front of 20,061 fans at Freedom Hall last Saturday, Rick Pitino and Marvin Stone looked like they may have made the right choice in jumping ship.
Louisville overcame a 20-9 deficit to start the game, drawing to within three at halftime before running UK right out of the building over the final 18 minutes of an 81-63 blowout on the Cards' home floor. The shocking final score upped Pitino's mark to 1-1 against UK since his return to the Bluegrass and gave Stone (16 points, seven rebounds) the closure he needed on his underachieving career as a Wildcat.
"This is a very big win for our program," Pitino said. "We are going to embrace this for the next year. We want to be a Top 25 program. This is a big builder for our program. Our respect level for Kentucky is off the charts."
What was also off the charts was the way Louisville (7-1) manhandled UK in the second half, outscoring the Cats 51-30 and controlling the glass 21-12 after being shellacked 24-14 in the first half, including 15-1 to start the game. Included in the Cards' second half outburst was a 25-9 run and an 11-0 run later to dash UK's hopes.
"We were just outworked (in the second half)," UK Coach Tubby Smith said. "We missed some shots inside and lost some confidence. And we didn't do a good job defending.
"Obviously, they've improved and it showed. I was disappointed in our effort in the second half. It looked like we justÉI don't know."
For UK (6-3), the loss displayed an old bugaboo, shooting, where UK hit just 37.1 percent from the field for the game (23-of-62) and 16.7 percent from three-point range (3-of-18). The starting guard combination of Keith Bogans and Gerald Fitch combined for 19 points, but made just 7-of-25 shots and 2-of-13 threes.
"We got caught up in trying to match (Louisville)," Smith said. "It was that, 'OK, I'm going to show you I can make a three too' attitude."
The result was Louisville coming out in the second half scorching hot, while UK languished around the perimeter missing long jumpers and totally neglecting Marquis Estill and the post game. In fact, Estill took only two (making both) field goals before fouling out with 5:25 remaining.
"Only two shots?" Smith said. "That's ridiculous. That is something we worked hard on. We were terrible from the outside and that was the difference in the game."
Although UK jumped out early, handling U of L's press with ease, the Cards methodically worked themselves back into the game behind the shooting of Bryant Northern and a renewed effort on the glass. Trailing just 33-30 at the break, Louisville freshman Francisco Garcia buried a three from the top of the key at 18:09 of the second half, igniting what eventually would be a 25-9 run to give the Cards a 55-42 lead.
The Cats responded with a 7-0 run of their own to climb back to within 60-53 at 9:07, but numerous missed shots and confusing offensive trips later, Louisville had tacked on another 11-0 run claiming a 73-51 lead and sending the faithful into a dizzy.
"It's a tough loss, but we've got a lot of games left," Smith said. "It takes something out of you, but we've got to regroup."
As for Stone and Pitino, the red and black never looked so good.
Former teammate Marvin Stone works against Marquis Estill