Kenny Payne and the Cardinals won 91-50 last night, despite their slow start
The Louisville Cardinals played their first exhibition game last night against Simmons College and won in a lopsided game where Kenny Payne’s team won 91-50. It wasn’t perfect though, and the Cardinals will need to clean up a little before they play actual division 1 opponents in November.
Payne surprised some Cardinal fans when he went with the starting lineup of:
PG: Skyy Clark
SG: Mike James
SF: Curtis Williams
PF: JJ Traynor
C: Dennis Evans
Most fans and local media assumed Tre White would be starting, as he dominated in the scrimmage game last week and was the most highly touted transfer Payne brought in. Also Dennis Evans starting over Brandon Huntley-Hatfield was slightly surprising just based on the fact that Evans is a freshman, but if he is the better player he should be starting.
To start the game the Cardinals led Simmons College 20-15 and had 12 turnovers. This was the point where most fans thought it end up just the same as last year and that this team was not up to snuff with all the forced shots and bad turnovers. However, the Cardinals proceeded to go on a 24-1 run to end the half and looked like the team that we thought they were to start the basketball game.
Simmons College make an 11-4 run to start the 2nd half but Louisville went on a few more runs and made the shots needed to down them, 91-50 by the end of regulation.
Some of the standouts from this game were Curtis Williams and Tre White. White came off the bench but had 12 points on 4/5 from the floor and totaled 4 rebounds. Williams the freshman also had a great night shooting the ball, as he had 15 points on 5/6 from the floor and made 3/4 from three. Some other standouts were Dennis Evans the freshman and Mike James. Evans had a couple dunks and just looked like a monster out there with the smaller sized Simmons College players.
The players from last years team who had strides last year as still good, and the players who were just okay last season like Brandon Huntley-Hatfield and Emmanuel Okorafor may have trouble staying high in the rotation if these freshman continue to play good.
Some key takeaways from this game is that the freshman Payne brought in can play some good basketball and that this team is much improved from last season. I know it is Simmons College and they are not a good basketball team, but Louisville lost an exhibition game last year, and barely escaped with a win from the 2nd one they played last year. This is a big positive when comparing to where the team was at this time last year.
Nearly everyone on the team looked good last night, and that should be expected when playing a team like Simmons College. We will know a lot more about the team come November when they play good competition. But for now we can at least be joyous in the fact that Louisville won an exhibition game to start the year.