(Photo of JJ Traynor, Carlik Jones: Scott Utterback/Courier Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Playing their fourth game in seven days to open the 2020-21 season, the Louisville men's basketball program earned arguably their most impressive win of the young season, toppling Western Kentucky 75-54 at the KFC Yum! Center.
Dating back to 2009, the Cardinals have now won nine straight over the Hilltoppers, and have not lost at home to WKU since 2000.
Louisville was led by a trio of high-caliber scoring efforts from forward Dre Davis and guards Carlik Jones & David Johnson. Davis led all scorers with a 21 point effort, tallying a pair of rebounds & assists as well. Jones & Johnson scored 18 & 17 respectively, with both grabbing six rebounds and Johnson finishing with a game-high eight assists.
Down to just eight scholarship players and facing a Hilltoppers squad that averaged over 20 bench points per game, this had potential to be a dangerous mismatch for the Cardinals. Especially considering WKU starts an All-American caliber center in Charles Bassey, and Louisville is having to rely on relatively inexperienced front court.
Instead, Louisville turned in their best defensive performance of the season while also taking full advantage of one of WKU's biggest weaknesses. The Cards forced 21 turnovers, turning that into 21 points, and held the Tops to just 16.7% on three-point attempts.
Conversely, Louisville was shooting threes nearly at-will. The Cards connected on 8 of their 18 shots from beyond the arc (44.4%); with Davis, Jones & Johnson hitting 7 of them. WKU was surrendering three-pointers at a 47.9% clip heading into the game.
Bassey notched a 13 point, 15 rebound double-double & guard Taveion Hollingsworth finished with a team-high 19 points. Despite the strong effort from Bassey on the glass, WKU was out-rebounded 34-31.
Next up for Louisville, they will conclude their five game home-stand to open up the season, taking on the UNC Greensboro Spartans at the KFC Yum! Center. Tipoff is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 4 at :00 p.m. EST on the ACC Network.
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