Appalachian St.-Louisville Preview
Louisville figured out that the solution to its perimeter scoring problems is to get the ball inside. The No. 16 Cardinals try to win for the third time in as many days and open 4-0 for the first time in four seasons when they host Appalachian State on Monday night. Louisville (3-0) is completing a stretch of three home games in three days as part of the Hall of Fame Showcase event. The Cardinals went 6 of 30 from 3-point range and shot 36.4 percent overall Saturday, but managed to win 69-56 over East Tennessee State in their home opener. The addiction to the 3-point shot was solved Sunday in a 90-81 victory over Morgan State. Louisville cut its 3-point attempts to 12 and went to the basket more, to result in 41 foul shots. "When teams respect your shooting so much and they close out on you, you have to drive and dish," coach Rick Pitino said. "Our guys realized the mistake they made the night before and corrected it." The major beneficiary of the change in strategy was Samardo Samuels. The 6-foot-9, 260-pound forward had 14 points and 11 boards Saturday, and boosted those totals to 23 and 12 a day later. "I've just been doing some drills, trying to get better," Samuels said. The final game of this stretch gives Jerry Smith a chance to end his woes of the last two days. The senior guard made 5 of 18 shots and totaled 14 points, missing all eight 3-pointers. Smith shot 41.8 percent from beyond the arc over his first three seasons. Louisville guard Preston Knowles logged 31 minutes Sunday, making him the only Cardinal to play at least 30 over the weekend. "The one thing this basketball team is not going to do is fatigue," Pitino said. "They could possibly mentally fatigue but our practices are very difficult so they are not going to fatigue." The Cardinals are seeking their best start since winning their first six games of 2005-06. Appalachian State (2-2) has lost both road games this season, the most recent an 81-72 overtime defeat to Arkansas on Friday. The Mountaineers rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit to force the extra period before falling short. "The first half was very ugly for us," coach Buzz Peterson said. "I kept telling our guys to go at them because their bench isn't very deep." Donald Sims scored a team-high 17 points and Kellen Brand added 13 for Appalachian State, which shot 23.5 percent in the first half and 54.8 percent in the second before going 1 of 7 in overtime. Louisville has never faced Appalachian State. The Cardinals are 7-0 against current Southern Conference teams. Peterson went 0-4 against Louisville when he coached Tennessee from 2001-05.