If you went into the Roos game Saturday afternoon with the belief that they could hang with the #5 Louisville Cardinals, you probably also believed that it was Goliath, and not David, that was the underdog back in the day. While major upsets do happen from time to time, Rick Pitino’s team quickly took that possibility off the board.
Louisville jumped out to an 8-0 lead and held a twelve point advantage five and a half minutes in before UMKC made its second basket of the game. The Cardinals slowly but surely built their lead from there and went into the locker room up by 25 (53-28) at the break.
The Roos came out firing threes to start the second half with their first four shots coming from beyond the arc. Unfortunately they missed on all but one of those and by then Louisville had already stretched their advantage out to 32. UMKC’s deficit continued to grow and grow as the half wore on. By the time the final buzzer sounded, Louisville had more than doubled up the Roos and won 99-47.
When you lose by 52 and give up nearly 100 points in a game there’s not going to be much to celebrate. Nary a Roo managed to crack double digits in scoring, though much of that was a result of playing time being evenly distributed in the blowout loss. A total of ten Roos saw at least 13 minutes of action on the floor and another three saw some action in the game. Trinity Hall and Nelson Kirksey each had nine points to lead the way. Kirk Korver was held scoreless, Fred Chatmon managed just two points and Thomas Staton was limited to five on 1-10 from the floor. Kirksey had the best game for UMKC as he led the team in rebounds (6) and steals (3) in addition to his nine points. Collectively they shot 26.9%, were 5-22 on three point attempts, turned the ball over 22 times and lost the battle on the boards 45-30.
Meanwhile, Louisville was led by junior guard Russ Smith who simply dominated the game. In 27 minutes of action he scored 31 points on 12-18 shooting and added seven rebounds, five assists and five steals to his stat line along the way. Junior Luke Hancock and freshman Montrezl Harrell also scored in double figures with 15 and 14 points respectively. As a team they were 37-66 (56.1%) from the floor and were solid in their three-pointers with an 8-18 effort in that regard.
Looking ahead the Cardinals (8-1) will travel to take on the Memphis Tigers (6-2) next Saturday. Both of the Tigers losses came against their two toughest opponents, Minnesota and VCU, so it’s hard to imagine Louisville will have much trouble.
Their humbling defeat now securely in the books the Roos (4-5) have continued to alternate wins and losses on their schedule. With that in mind they will play host to the Appalachian State Mountaineers (1-7) next Sunday and should be able to get back into the win column and back to .500. The Mountaineers have yet to win a game against a Division I opponent this season and were 13-18 last year. Sophomore forward Jay Canty (18.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.3 apg) is the team’s primary scoring option as well as the team leader in rebounds and assists. If the Roos can keep him in check – a task easier said than done – they should be able to win comfortably. Nathan Healy (13.6 ppg) and Tab Hamilton (12.0 ppg) are the other two Mountaineers that average better than ten points per game.