The streak is over. For the first time in the 2022-23 season and the first time in 281 days, the Louisville men’s basketball team has won a game.
In numbers that would have been impossible to believe heading into the night, the Cardinals shot 52.0 percent (13-15) from three, 54.4 percent (31-57) from the field, 95.0 percent (19-20) from the free-throw line, had more assists than turnovers (17:13), and scored 37 points more than their season average in a 94-83 win over Western Kentucky Wednesday night.
El Ellis played the game of his life as a Cardinal to date, dropping 30 points and handing out 10 assists to lead the U of L charge against the previously 8-1 Hilltoppers. A season-high five U of L players scored in double figures. Kamari Lands came off the bench to set a new career-high with 15, Brandon Huntley-Hatfield had 11, Jae’Lyn Withers had 10, and Sydney Curry showed significant signs of life with a 10-point, 6-rebound performance.
The best part about this win was that it wasn’t some flukey deal where U of L made some wild shots, WKU played as poorly as they could, and the Cards held on for a narrow win in the closing seconds: This team played its absolute ass off tonight. The execution and the red-hot shooting was great, but it’s the significant increase in effort and fight that I think has the fans the most excited tonight.
I’m well aware of how little this changes in the grand scheme of things, and in this moment, I don’t care. After the last month and-a-half (three years?), everyone who cares deeply about Cardinal basketball deserves to feel at least a little good for a little while.
I don’t know what in the world changed from Saturday afternoon to Wednesday night, but let’s keep it around and see what happens.