Louisville rallied from a 12 point deficit in the second half to force overtime, but ultimately couldn’t finish the job in a 78-70 loss to Kentucky on Saturday inside Rupp Arena.
Steven Enoch led Louisville with 18 points along with 5 rebounds. Dwayne Sutton scored 14 and added a team high 10 boards. Fresh Kimble was the other double figure scorer with 12 points and 4 assists. Louisville finished only 9-20 from the free throw line.
For the home team, Tyrese Maxey led the way with 27 points and 7 rebound on 60 percent from the field and 4 of 5 from three. Immanuel Quickley had 18 points and 3 boards. Nick Richards notched a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Both teams struggled offensively to start before Tyrese Maxey exploded late in the first half for 13 points before the break. Kentucky led 32-24 heading into halftime and led by 12 a couple minutes into the second period.
With 9:25 remaining in regulation, Louisville took its first lead in nearly 19 minutes on a Steven Enoch three at the top of the key. Down 61-59 late in the second half, Fresh Kimble hit a layup with 10.6 on the clock to tie it at 61. Kentucky had its shot, but couldn’t connect and the game went to overtime.
Despite the eight point margin, Louisville led throughout the first couple minutes of overtime. Kentucky went ahead 70-68 and Louisville was unable to make shots in the final minute.
This was one of the better games between the two schools in recent seasons. Louisville looked dead just a few minutes into the second half, but really showed some toughness in the final 15 minutes of regulation in a hostile building. They used their advantage inside to get UK’s bigs into foul trouble and really exploited the Cats down low on offense.
This was a heart breaker because Louisville really looked like it was clearly the better team during the second half. Like so many years though, the Cards got out to a slow start and looked like the stage was too big for them in the first half. Jordan Nwora was completely anonymous all game and did not want the ball at all in the second half.
Fresh Kimble was absolutely the bright spot for Louisville on Saturday. He finished with 12 points but took control of the game and played a huge role in Louisville’s comeback. Darius Perry just does not seem all that comfortable playing point guard. From here on out, it might be wise to let Kimble run this offense from the point guard spot. He played alongside Perry plenty in the second half when things were going great for the Cards.
Its another year and another loss for Louisville against its rival. There are plenty of reasons to be disappointed, but good teams in college basketball lose on the road all the time. If Louisville makes its free throws in the second half and overtime this is probably a very different recap. The good news? This game is played in December and almost always has no bearing on the overall success of Louisville’s season. This is still a good team, but its a flawed team that has some things to prove over the next two months.
Up Next: Florida State comes to town for a 2:00 p.m. tipoff next Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center