It was a hard-fought battle, but the Louisville Cardinals came back from four points down in the second half to defeat the Norse 84-69 Nov. 8 at the Bank of Kentucky Center.
This was the first meeting between the two schools and the NCAA allowed Louisville, a Division I school to travel on the road for an exhibition game.
The Norse made the exhibition a game and even had a four-point lead with 12:59 remaining, before the Cardinals went on a 39-20 run to win the game.
“You knew when we had the lead, that we were going to have to defend the ball because make some tough shots,” NKU head coach Dave Bezold said. “They made the tough shots and we didn’t.”
Northern Kentucky University sophomore transfer Dustin Maguire led all players with 31 points in the game. The guard went 12-for-16 from the field including 9-for-12 from the 3-point line.
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino was not pleased with his team defense.
“We would have a better time guarding a Big East team than a team like Northern Kentucky,” Pitino said. “I know that sounds crazy, but when they have four or five guards around the perimeter, it makes it tough.”
Pitino was exceptionally not happy with the defense from Louisville freshman forward Samardo Samuels.
“Samuels gave up 15 points on defense because he does not know how to guard a guy who can shoot a fade-away three-pointer,” Pitino said. “He didn’t even have a defensive rebound until the end of the game.”
Samuels led his team with 29 points in the game. He went 10-of-11 from the field and was 9-for-12 at the free-throw line.
“We (Louisville) wanted to get a lot out of playing on the road and we did,” Pitino said. “The best part for us was the fact that when we went down, we never panicked.”
Next for the Norse will be an exhibition game with the University of Cincinnati Bearcats at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11 at Fifth Third Arena. They will open the regular season against Ferris State at 1 p.m. Nov. 15 at the BOKC.
Click Here for stats on the NKU/Louisville game.