Louisville defeats Western Kentucky for the season’s first victory
El Ellis had career highs of 30 places and 10 helps and Louisville at last won subsequent to opening the season with nine misfortunes, beating Western Kentucky 94-83 on Wednesday night to give Kenny Payne his first win as a head coach.
The Cardinals’ nine losses were completely foreign for a program ranked in the top 15 in winning percentage with eight Final Four appearances and 39 overall appearances in the NCAA tournament. They were also the most losses to begin a season in Atlantic Coast Conference history. In the last 77 years, they have won 73 games.
“Loved the way we finally played, with toughness and energy and confidence,” Payne said. “I just told the guys this: What did it smell like? What does it feel like? What does it taste like? Because winning one, imagine what it’s like to win 80 and 90% of your games. You’ve got to sacrifice your life to it.
“So hopefully this is a stepping stone that they greatly needed because they put in a lot of work. But we have to build on this game and continue the momentum going and get over the schneid. You know, they deserve it. They worked really hard, harder than I can tell you. They’re good kids. It’s all about them.”
After starting with 29%, Louisville ended the skid on 52 percent shooting from the line, making 13 of 25 attempts. That accuracy from a distance came against a Hilltoppers team (8-2) that was ranked second in the nation from a distance at 43% but was 9-of-26 for 35% this night.
Ellis had his first career double-double, making four 3-pointers and shooting 10-of-19. Brandon Huntley-Hatfield scored 11, Kamari Lands scored 15 points, and Sydney Curry and Jae’Lyn Withers each scored 10.
WKU’s five-game winning streak was ended thanks to Dayvion McKnight’s 25 points on 11 of 22 shooting. Jairus Hamilton recorded his second season-high double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Throughout the second half, Louisville held a lead of at least double digits, sometimes as much as twenty. WKU got inside 10 three times in the last three minutes, yet Louisville hit every one of the 10 of its free tosses in that range.
Ellis outperformed his season scoring normal of 15.6 by halftime with 17 places and Louisville took a 46-35 lead on JJ Traynor’s 3-pointer at the ringer.
The Cardinals scored five points in a row to kick off a 19-7 run, which included three 3-pointers made by Ellis. With seven minutes left in the half, the Cardinals held a 26-22 lead, which they maintained throughout the game.