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Men's Basketball Faces UCF on Saturday

February 1, 2014


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - After one of its longest layoff of the year, the University of Louisville men’s basketball team faces its second opponent in three days, when the Cardinals play host to UCF on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET in the KFC Yum! Center.

The Feb. 1 game will air on ESPNU, with Adam Amin (play-by-play) and Brooke Weisbrod (analyst) calling the action. Paul Rogers (play-by-play) and Doug Ormay (analyst) will announce the game on WHAS 840 AM. The contest also is available on SIRIUS channel 92 and XM channel 190.

Louisville leads the all-time series 2-0 after defeating UCF 90-65 on Dec. 31, 2013. Russ Smith scored 24 points, knocking down six 3-pointers, and dishing out nine assists. Luke Hancock came off the bench to add 16 behind four treys. Isaiah Sykes had 19 as the lone double-digit scorer for UCF, which shot 35 percent from the field. Prior to that meeting, the Cardinals beat the Knights 78-58 in 1999.

The No. 12/7 Cardinals (17-4, 6-2 AAC) dropped just their second home game of the year, falling 69-66 to No. 13 Cincinnati on Thursday night. Louisville trailed by as many as 17 in the second half, and despite shooting 54.5 percent in the final period and taking the lead, was unable to hold on to the advantage.

Montrezl Harrell led the Cardinals with 18 points on 9-of-13 shooting, while totaling six rebounds and two blocks. Hancock and Smith each added 16 points, and Terry Rozier scored 10. Collectively, the Cardinals lost the rebounding battle 36-25, but did convert 20 Cincinnati turnovers into 26 points. Sean Kilpatrick led the Bearcats with 28 points, including an 11-of-11 performance from the free throw line.

Smith continues to lead the Cardinals in scoring, averaging 18 points per game. He eclipsed the 100-assist plateau, a team high, and also ranks first on the squad with 39 steals and 45 3-pointers. Harrell is averaging 12.4 points and 8.4 rebounds.

Statistically, the Cardinals rank in the top five in scoring margin (No. 1, +20.4), turnover margin (No. 2, +6.8), steals per game (No. 3, 9.6), and total steals (No. 5, 202). UCF boasts the No. 8 national ranking in fewest fouls (310) and ranks 51st in rebounding margin (+4.8).

UCF has dropped its last five games and comes into Saturday’s competition with a 9-9 overall mark, including a 1-6 record in league play. The Knights, in their last game, trailed Memphis by just two with 8:42 remaining, but a Memphis run sealed the 69-59 victory.

Against the Tigers, Sykes scored a game-high 24 on 12-of-22 shooting, while grabbing 12 rebounds and tallying five assists. Matt Williams was UCF’s only other double-digit scorer, as he finished with 13 points. Memphis was led by Joe Jackson’s 17 points. Three other Tigers scored in double digits.

Sykes is pacing UCF in scoring (15.6) and rebounding (6.7) and also has a team-best 65 assists. He is shooting 49.3 percent from the field, but just 49.5 percent from the free throw line. Calvin Newell is averaging 11.6 points per game and has a team-high 34 steals.

The Knights are under the direction of fourth-year coach Donnie Jones, who has guided the program to a 75-54 record. The Knights were picked to finish eighth in the American Athletic Conference’s preseason coaches’ poll. Sykes was named to the conference’s preseason second team.

GAME FACTS - Louisville vs. UCF
Date: Saturday, Feb. 1
Time: 9:05 p.m. ET
Site: KFC Yum! Center / Crum Court, Louisville, Ky. (22,000)
TV: ESPNU will broadcast the game, with Adam Amin (play-by-play) and Brooke Weisbrod (analyst) calling the action.
Radio: WHAS 840 AM will broadcast the game, with Paul Rogers (play-by-play) and Doug Ormay (analyst) calling the action. The broadcast also is available on SIRIUS channel 92 and XM channel 190.
Series History: Louisville leads 2-0 (1-0 in Louisville, 1-0 in Orlando).
Next UofL Game: Wednesday, Feb. 5 at Houston, Houston, Texas, 9 p.m. ET (ESPNU)

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