For the first time since 1972, Louisville has lost a November home game.
The Cardinals led Furman 67-62 with 2:26 to go in regulation. U of L would not score its next point until the 2:16 mark in overtime, a drought which allowed the Paladins to go on an 11-0 run and secure one of the most significant wins in program history.
No matter who Mike Pegues threw at him, Louisville had no answer for Furman’s Mike Bothwell. The Paladin star went 13-of-15 at the free-throw line and scored a game-high 30 points. Senior point guard Alex Hunter added 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and sophomore Garett Hien — the team’s lone post presence — added 18 points, eight boards and three assists.
For Louisville, Noah Locke once again led the way offensively with 20 points. Jae’Lyn Withers (14) and Jarrod West (10) also scored in double figures.
While Furman is certainly an experienced, dangerous opponent, this loss feels more about what Louisville didn’t do than what the Paladins did. The decision-making was poor, especially down the stretch. The substitution patterns didn’t make a whole lot of sense. The energy level once again ebbed and flowed too much. But at the end of the day, the most glaring difference in this game was that Furman had one of the better coaches in college basketball in Bob Richey, while Louisville didn’t have a head coach of any sort.
That matters. A lot.
Here’s hoping this adversity is handled correctly in the days ahead. If it isn’t, this won’t be the last unexpected November slip-up.