Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pitinio said it best...."You reap what you sow."

As Rob Jones and I were leaving the Northern Kentucky game and I said to him that this team was going to lose to a lesser team out of conference and sometimes I hate when I'm right. Louisville didn't get upset by Western Kentucky, who won against their first top three opponent since 1967, the Hilltoppers flat out beat the Cards.

“It was a very disappointing performance from our guys. You have to give Western Kentucky credit, because they did great. Our shots would not fall, and at the other end they made their shots. They did a good job on the low post." Pitino said to open his press conference.

Louisville started the game as if they were just going to win cause they were ranked and WKU isn't. The Cards shot just 9-28 from the field in the first half, while playing full court defense like the Washington Generals (great Pitino quote from his Celtics days).

"They probably underestimated us because we're Western Kentucky and they're the No. 3 team in the country," said Pettigrew, who grew up in Elizabethtown, Ky., about 30 minutes south of Louisville. "We just tried to go out there and throw the first punch and keep our composure throughout the whole game."

“I think they came out thinking that they were going to beat us and that they were overlooking us. The swagger that they had told me that they didn’t think they had to come out and compete and that they thought they were better than us. I told the guys before the game that I didn’t think they were ready to play and that we needed to come out and throw the first punch so they wouldn’t know what hit them. I knew if we did that then we could win this game.” A.J. Slaughter said about what it was like playing Louisville

The first half for Louisville was summed up best as the clock was running down and Kentucky native A.J. Slaughter (pictured) wove through the defence and nailed a straight ahead three to tie the game at 28 as the buzzer sounded, running to the tunnels waiving his arms and pumping up the Hilltopper faithful that made the hour long trip to Nashville.

"It just gives you a little attitude that 'Hey, we're going to get this done,'" first-year Western Kentucky coach Ken McDonald said. "That was a huge play."

First year coach Ken McDonald did a great job slowing down the Cards transition game and daring them to win the game by hitting jump shots, something Louisville couldn't do. The Cardinals finished the game just 15-56 (26.8%) from the that isn't a typo, Louisville, a team thought to be a sure fire Final Four team made just 15 shots out of 56 attempts. Thirty of those shots were three pint attempts, hitting just six of those (20% from three). Louisville shot 26.8 percent, only the fifth time in the last 10 years the Cards were held under 30 percent. It didn't help that on top of that Louisville was as soft as a fat kid when it came to rebounding (WKU out rebounded UL 48-36, 24-18 in the paint). Let s just say the only time the Cards "hit the boards" was when they were shooting the ball.

"They were open shots, the ball didn't go down," Pitino said. "We didn't offensive rebound with any great authority. It was a double-edge sword."

“We are bigger, but we don't rebound well. This culture today gets affected by scoring. So we get three rebounds from our guards. Last year, our guards rebounded. Guards just aren't getting it done." Pitino added.

Western Kentucky held Louisville without a field goal for nearly 10 minutes in the second half and rode Slaughter and Pettigrew to the program's biggest regular-season win since knocking off then-No. 4 Kentucky in 2001. This was no last-second stunner. Western Kentucky took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Slaughter with 13:50 remaining and pulled away.

"It shows that we can play with anybody in the country," Slaughter said.

The two Kentucky Natives (Pettigrew and Slaughter) showed the Cards that they could have played in Louisville, as Slaughter finished the game with a career high 25 points and Pettigrew (pictured right) added 17 points and 12 rebounds. Pettigrew spent most the game banging in the post against a bigger and stronger Samardo Samuels (6'8 260 lb and pictured left) but that didn't stop the 6'5 225 lb Sophomore from out scoring and out rebounding the heralded Freshman.

"I knew [Pettigrew] was going to battle," McDonald said. "I know traditionally big guys don't like shorter, strong guys on them and Steph battled."

Terrence Williams did finish with 19 points and 9 rebounds for the Cards, while Earl Clark recorded a double double with 11 points and 11 rebounds but that was no where near enough. Louisville's guards finished the game 3-23 from the field. Andre McGee was 0-7, Edgar Sosa was 0-6, and Will Scott was 2-8 (all three point attempts) just to name a few depressing stats.

"You don't like to learn your lessons from losing, but to be quite honest the way we practiced all week, we did not deserve to win," coach Rick Pitino said. "You reap what you sow."

This was Louisville's fifth loss in a regular-season neutral-site game in the last three seasons, with four of those coming to unranked opponents.

Western Kentucky leads the all-time series with Louisville (39-33) and has won two straight against ranked Louisville teams.

"We got on the floor, got after it, rebounded," Slaughter said. "I think we just wanted it way more."

The Cards will have five days now to dwell in the way they played, with their next game coming on December 6th at Freedom Hall against Indiana State.


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