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Louisville falls to Kentucky Wesleyan, 71-68

Another year, another exhibition nightmare for Kenny Payne.

Syndication: The Courier-Journal Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

After going more than two decades without losing an exhibition game, the U of L men’s basketball team has now dropped a preseason contest in consecutive years.

Kentucky Wesleyan, which was picked before the start of the season to finish eighth in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference of Division-II, walked out of the KFC Yum Center with a 71-68 win Monday night.

Louisville shot just 34.0 percent from the field, but more importantly, was dominated on the glass by the much smaller Panthers. KWC scored 18 second chance points to Louisville’s 2, and out-rebounded the Cardinals 47-33 for the game.

Skyy Clark led U of L with 22 points on 8-of-22 shooting from the field. Mike James scored 16 points and was 10-of-10 from the free-throw line, where the Cards outscored Wesleyan by 11.

I don’t really know what people want me to say here.

Nothing on Monday night looked any better than it did last year. Louisville was always second to the ball, constantly getting beaten backdoor, showed zero consistency when it came to defending high-ball screens, and didn’t seem to have much of a plan of attack on either end of the floor.

This team will win more than four games (the Mike Rutherford Guarantee (TM) still stands), but at the moment, it’s awfully difficult to envision it winning enough to make anyone feel overly optimistic about the direction of the program.