December 15, 2015

While maintaining its defensive prowess from past seasons, Louisville has also shown off a dynamic offense in this one.

The 19th-ranked Cardinals should have no problem continuing to roll through their homestand Wednesday night against Kennesaw State.

Louisville (7-1) has yielded 55.4 points per game on 33.9 percent shooting and let Eastern Michigan connect at just 29.7 percent Saturday, including 4 for 26 from 3-point range.

The Cardinals converted at 53.4 percent at the other end in an 86-53 rout, topping 53.0 for the fifth time. Louisville accomplished that feat three times last season while averaging 69.0 points on 42.9 percent shooting.

"If we cut down from our mistakes of getting too deep or trying to make a certain type of pass, our shooting percentage could even be higher," guard Damion Lee said. "Fifty percent shooting as a team, you don't see that too often."

The Cardinals are at 51.6 percent from the field and putting up 86.0 points per game, with a pair of transfers leading the way.

Lee, who played at Drexel in 2014-15, is averaging a team-best 18.8 points while shooting 53.7 percent. Trey Lewis, a Cleveland State transfer who is at his third school, is averaging 13.8 points. That duo has combined to make 31 of the team's 50 3-pointers.

The early portion of the Cardinals' six-game homestand has allowed other players to hone their offensive games before a trip to No. 4 Kentucky on Dec. 26. Louisville has beaten the first two opponents by a combined 81 points with five players scoring in double figures in each game.

Quentin Snyder, averaging 9.9 points, had a combined 25 in those two contests while dishing out 12 assists.

"Let's face it," coach Rick Pitino said. "Although our defensive numbers are good, we're winning with offense."

Kennesaw State (3-8) is averaging 63.9 points and shooting 39.5 percent heading into its first meeting with Louisville and third game against a ranked opponent this season.

The Owls lost 91-69 at then-No. 23 LSU on Nov. 16 and 87-54 at then-No. 20 West Virginia on Dec. 5, dropping to 0-10 versus Top 25 teams since joining Division I in 2005-06. Their only wins over Division I teams this season came against sub-.500, small-conference schools IUPUI and Florida A&M.

Guards Kendrick Ray (16.1 points per game) and Yonel Brown (16.0) have accounted for about half of their scoring, but the two have headed in different directions lately. While Ray is averaging 20.8 points and 9.5 rebounds in the last four games, Brown is averaging 10.3 points and shooting 25.7 percent in three games this month.

Brown missed six of seven shots and scored seven points in a 69-59 win over NAIA opponent Thomas University on Dec. 7 in the Owls' last game.

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