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HomeSportsBasketballLouisville primed for bounce-back, hosts New Mexico State

Louisville primed for bounce-back, hosts New Mexico State


Despite playing some of its basketball under second-year coach Kenny Payne, Louisville lost both games in the Empire Classic to Texas and Indiana.

The Cardinals try to turn things around Sunday, when they host New Mexico State.

The Cardinals (2-3) played with more intensity and passion, but losses to then-No. 19 Texas 81-80 and the Hoosiers 74-66 are just that, losses.

“Indiana caught us a little off guard (with their zone defense),” Payne said. “We’re close. We just have to get over the hump.”

The Cardinals had just two field goals in the final 9:54 against Indiana and have only 48 assists to go with 66 turnovers this season.

Louisville is shooting 41.5 percent from the field, and 29.5 percent from 3-point range.

“It really comes down to the last four minutes,” Cardinals guard Skyy Clark said. “It was in our reach, and in the last four minutes we let it slip away. Both teams that we played, they’ve got more experience and older players, so they’ve been in those types of games.

“It’s something we can learn from … and even though we went 0-2, I think we showed people we can compete with some of the top teams in the country.”

Clark led Louisville with 19 points in the loss to Indiana, while sophomore guard Tre White also found double figures with 10 points and five rebounds. Clark averages 14.4 points while White is averaging 13.6 points and 7.8 rebounds.

New Mexico State (3-4) lost to Fresno State 81-76 in overtime and 81-54 to Southern Illinois in Cancun, Mexico. The Aggies had opportunities to win the game against Fresno but couldn’t finish the deal.

It will be the Aggies’ second trip to the Bluegrass, having opened the season with a 86-46 loss at Kentucky Nov. 6.

New Mexico State is led by guard Femi Odukale, who averages 16.0 points and 7.7 rebounds. Against SIU, Odukale finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and two assists.

THe Aggies shot a season-worst 31.9 percent from the field and missed all nine 3-point attempts in the loss to Southern Illinois on Wednesday.

– Field Level Media

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