A year after kicking off the Kenny Payne era with the program’s first ever exhibition game loss to a college opponent, the Louisville men’s basketball team made certain that a repeat disaster scenario would be avoided in year two.
The Cardinals had little trouble with Tony Branch’s overmatched Simmons College Falcons, rolling to a 91-50 victory Wednesday night in front of a sparse crowd inside the KFC Yum Center.
It wasn’t always a thing of beauty.
Through the game’s opening 12 minutes, Louisville nearly had as many turnovers (12) as field goal attempts (13). The Cards settled down from that point forward, turning the ball over just once during a 24-1 run to close the half.
U of L turned the ball over on its first three possessions of the second half and allowed the Falcons to win the frame’s opening segment, 11-4. Order was then once again restored as some improved shooting from the outside allowed Louisville to rout their visitors from the National Christian College Athletic Association.
Freshman Curtis Williams was arguably the brightest star of the night for Louisville. The 6’5 guard from Detroit showcased a silky smooth shot from the outside, knocking down 5-of-6 shots from the field, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, and finishing with a game-high 15 points.
Mike James followed up his solid performance at the Red-White scrimmage with a 13-point, seven rebound effort. Our guy Dennis Evans had nine points (four dunks) and nine rebounds. Tre White scored 12 points in just 16 minutes, and Skyy Clark added eight points and six assists.
There were definite lows — the Cards finished with 22 turnovers against an opponent that ... shouldn’t be forcing 22 turnovers against Louisville — but when the first step last year was a 10-point loss to Lenoir-Rhyne where you scored 47 points, it’s hard to complain too much about a 41-point blowout.
Here’s your final box score: