FACTS & STATS: Site: KFC Yum! Center (22,000) -- Louisville, Kentucky. Television: Big East TV. Home Record: Morgan St. 2-1, Louisville 9-1. Away Record: Morgan St. 1-3, Louisville 1-0. Neutral Record: Morgan St. 1-1, Louisville 0-0. Conference Record: Morgan St. 1-0, Louisville 0-0. Series Record: Louisville leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The Louisville Cardinals return home as they take on the Morgan State Bears at the KFC Yum! Center this evening.
Rick Pitino's Cardinals have won 10 of their first 11 games on the season, with their lone loss coming on December 14th against Drexel (52-46). The team has bounced back from that loss with two straight victories, including a 114-82 waxing of Western Kentucky, in the team's first road game of the season last week.
Morgan State is a one game under .500 on the season thanks to a 97-55 blasting at the hands of top-five foe Syracuse last week. The setback halted a season- high two-game win streak for the Bears, and marked the largest margin of defeat in Todd Bozeman's five years at the helm.
This is just the third time these two teams have met on the hardwood. Louisville has won each of the two prior meetings, including a 90-81 victory at Freedom Hall last season.
It came as no surprise that Morgan State struggled against one of the top teams in the country, falling at Syracuse by 42 points. The Bears shot a mere .377 from the floor, were outrebounded by the Orange, 47-28 and turned the ball over a costly 17 times. Kevin Thompson led the way in the loss with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Justin Black came off the bench to tally 14 points, while DeWayne Jackson chimed in with nine. The Bears have had a tough time this season in terms of offensive consistency, delivering on just 40.6 percent from the floor and putting up a pedestrian 66.8 ppg. Despite shooting a mere .389 from the floor, Jackson leads the team with 14.7 ppg. Thompson has been strong in the paint, averaging a near double-double with 14.2 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.
The Cardinals shot a season-high .646 from the field last week at Western Kentucky, making light work of the Hilltoppers in a 32-point romp. Peyton Siva had a huge game, finishing with 29 points and eight assists. Chris Smith poured in 18 points, while Rakeem Buckles and Preston Knowles tallied 15 each, followed by Kyle Kuric's 10. The offensive eruption is nothing new for the Cardinals, who are netting a healthy 81.9 ppg on .471 shooting. The team is also strong defensively, yielding a mere 60.1 ppg on well under 40 percent shooting (.365). Knowles paces the team with 13.7 ppg. Siva is second in scoring at 12.1 ppg, while leading the team is assists (52). Scoring depth comes in the form of four more players averaging over 8.4 ppg.
The Bears lack the weapons necessary to keep this one close. Louisville is a strong offensive team with plenty of options at that end of the floor. Expect the Cardinals to get up early and stay there.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisville 84, Morgan State 53
12/27 13:54:01 ET
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