No. 5 Louisville 80, Fairleigh Dickinson 58

Louisville coach Rick Pitino told Kyle Kuric to finally fill up

a box score after not shooting enough in the opening month of the

season.

The senior forward responded following the pregame pep talk.

Kuric scored 18 points and Gorgui Dieng added 14 points and 12

rebounds to lift No. 5 Louisville to an 80-58 victory over

Fairleigh Dickinson on Saturday – the Cardinals’ 17th straight win

at the KFC Yum! Center.

”I told him the speech before the game, `I’m tired of you not

having an assist, I’m tired of you not having an offensive

rebound,”’ Pitino said. ”He’s still not shooting the ball enough.

He’s got shots and he’s not taking them. He’s got to shoot the ball

more.”

Kuric finished with six rebounds, including three on the

offensive end, to go with three assists, two steals and a blocked

shot. Still, he was frustrated at his 2-for-8 effort from 3-point

range.

”I’m trying to do a lot of things. I was just taking what was

there,” Kuric said. ”It wasn’t falling today and coach just told

me to keep shooting. I just tried to run the floor and get easy

baskets.”

Peyton Siva had 16 points and nine assists for Louisville, which

is in the midst of a 10-game homestand that will get a lot tougher

when the Cardinals host No. 21 Memphis next Saturday after

finishing final exams this coming week.

Louisville (9-0) used a 10-0 run late in the first half to open

up a 19-point advantage at the break and was never threatened in

the second half.

George Goode, who played three seasons at Louisville before

transferring to pursue a graduate degree, had 17 points and 12

rebounds for FDU (1-8). Melquan Bolding added 23 points for the

Knights.

”I just loved it,” Goode said. ”I enjoyed every minute of it.

I would never change it for the world. I was happy to be

back.”

In addition to Memphis, the Cardinals’ upcoming schedule also

features meetings with No. 18 Georgetown on Dec. 28 and top-ranked

Kentucky on Dec. 31.

”We’re happy with the win, now we’ve got a week to prepare for

one of the more athletic teams in the country in Memphis and we

still have a lot of improvements to make,” Pitino said.

Louisville has already had seven different players sit out games

this season with Saturday’s absence of reserve guard Russ Smith

(neck), but the Cardinals have relied on defense to remain

undefeated.

Louisville took a double-digit lead midway through the first

half, but there were plenty of teaching points with Pitino’s team

seeing a variety of zones for the first time.

”I thought the first 10 minutes we attacked the zone really,

really well,” the coach said. ”I think the game was in hand, we

just wanted to basically just work on things because we haven’t

seen too much zone.”

Pitino called a timeout after Goode’s putback dunk cut

Louisville’s lead to 27-18 when no one blocked out their former

teammate, but Dieng grabbed an offensive rebound after the sideline

chat and scored to spark a 10-0 run that made the margin 19 points

with 2:39 left in the first half.

FDU, which has lost 19 of its last 20 on the road and was picked

to finish last in the Northeast Conference, never came closer than

16 the rest of the way.

Siva, Elisha Justice, Mike Marra, Stephan Van Treese, Wayne

Blackshear and Rakeem Buckles have all missed at least one game

this season because of injury. Buckles returned from right knee

surgery after missing nearly 10 months in a 90-60 victory over

IUPUI on Wednesday, but he did not play against the Knights.

Goode, a role player at Louisville who received a degree in

communications before leaving for the Knights, got a loud ovation

during pregame and shook Pitino’s hand after being introduced. He

also scored the game’s first points with a dunk, but FDU’s lead

would be short-lived.

Siva answered with two layups and Louisville never trailed the

rest of the way thanks to Kuric’s big effort.

”Kyle is always there,” Siva said. ”He’s going to do a little

bit of everything for us.”