LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Taquan Dean's shooting slump didn't last
The Louisville guard made six 3-pointers and scored 24 points as
the seventh-ranked Cardinals overcame a sluggish first half to pull
away from Arkansas State 67-55 at the Colonial Classic on Sunday.
Dean knocked down three shots from beyond the arc during a
decisive 19-4 run in the second half when Louisville (3-0) shook
free of the Indians (2-4) in the final 10 minutes.
"He's the target on everybody's blackboard," said Louisville
head coach Rick Pitino of Dean. "Taquan is the man. Every coach is
screaming 'Don't let him shoot.' "
Dean entered the game shooting just 27 percent from the field,
including 19 percent from 3-point range. It looked like his
struggles would continue against the Indians, as he missed six of
his first nine shots, most of them long jumpers that bounced
harmlessly off the rim.
A quick diagnosis on his jumper from Pitino at halftime set Dean
"I was moving back on my jump shot, I wasn't landing in the
same place," Dean said. "Coach told me that at halftime, now I
feel more comfortable with my shot. I feel I'm in a little groove
Dereke Tipler led Arkansas State with 20 points, most coming in
the first half on an array of circus shots that allowed the Indians
to keep it close.
"We executed well and didn't back down," said Arkansas State
head coach Dickey Nutt.
Arkansas State grabbed a 20-19 lead in the first half on a
3-pointer by Isaac Wells as the Cardinals either rushed shots or
took poor ones in an effort to spark the offense.
"Veterans should know better," Pitino said. "We learned a
valuable lesson of when to shoot and when not to shoot. When we
pass the ball and screen we're a good shooting team. If you take
bad shots, no matter how good a shooter you are, it's not going to
Louisville closed the half with an 8-2 run, but the Panthers cut
the deficit to 34-32 with just over 13 minutes to play as
Louisville continued to misfire.
Only Louisville's defense kept the Cardinals in front, forcing
the Indians to run 25 to 30 seconds off the shot clock every time
down the floor.
"We got more pressure on them, got in their face and disrupted
their offense," Jenkins said.
Eventually, Louisville's offense caught up, with Dean leading
the way -- going 6-for-11 from long range.
"(Dean) basically has a green light," Nutt said. "He can
score anytime. When you have a player like that, it makes it tough
The exempt tournament was played with the international 3-point
line of 20-feet-9 inches, a foot behind the college line.
The added distance didn't seem to bother Dean this time.
Neither did a sore right knee that he banged twice against
Prairie View. Dean showed no ill effects during a dynamic
four-minute stretch in the second half that saw the Cardinals
finally hit their stride.
"Sure (the knee) was bother me, but I can't play if I'm not
sore," Dean said.
After shooting just 33 percent in the first half, Louisville
made half of its shots in the second half.
"We got a good victory," Pitino said. "We didn't turn the
ball over much (and) we worked very hard at the defensive end."
Louisville will finish the Classic on Monday against Richmond.
Arkansas State will face Prairie View, which was beaten 62-48 by
Richmond on Sunday.