LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- The "Beat UK" chants started with 4
minutes to go in No. 4 Louisville's 78-54 victory over Chicago
State on Tuesday night.
Forgive the Cardinals if they didn't hear the partisan crowd's
plea to beat in-state rival Kentucky on Saturday. The Cardinals had
a hard enough time taking care of the road-weary Cougars.
Taquan Dean scored 21 points and the Cardinals overcame a
sluggish first half to improve to 6-0 for the first time since
1996. But the only perfect thing about the Cardinals, according to
coach Rick Pitino, is their record.
"We did some silly things with turnovers," Pitino said.
"We're really behind defensively. We haven't worked on our press.
We haven't worked on anything."
Yet the Cardinals did enough in the second half to avoid the
upset at Freedom Hall. Louisville held Chicago State (1-6) to 30
percent shooting and outrebounded the Cougars 42-22.
David Holston had 17 points for the Cougars, who led 29-28 with
less than 5 minutes to go in the first half.
"They're really a scrappy team and had quick guards," Dean
said. "We didn't move the ball well against their defense in the
The Cardinals were forced to play almost the entire second half
without forward Juan Palacios, who turned his right ankle while
going for a rebound with 1:34 to go in the first half. It's the
same ankle Palacios dislocated last summer.
Palacios did play 3 minutes in the second half and finished with
four points and five rebounds. Pitino said Palacios will be
evaluated on Wednesday and isn't sure whether he will be available
against No. 23 Kentucky.
Even with Palacios on the bench, the Cardinals eventually wore
down Chicago State, which is in the middle of a 12-game road trip
to start the season.
Louisville began the second half with a 31-9 run, overpowering
the smaller Cougars behind Padgett and Williams.
"We just did a better job of passing the ball in the second
half," Padgett said. "We let the defense bother us in the first
half, and it got us out of rhythm. In the second half, we played
better defense and shared the ball."
Chicago State tried to slow down the Cardinals by milking 20 to
25 seconds off the shot clock before running their offense. But
when the shots stopped falling, the Cougars couldn't keep up.
"In the second half, they picked up the tempo," Chicago State
coach Kevin Jones said. "They really hurt us on the boards. I
didn't get anything out of my inside guys."
Pitino challenged his team to play with more intensity on
defense after the Cardinals allowed Akron to score 85 points last
Saturday. Louisville answered the challenge in the second half,
forcing two shot clock violations and giving up just nine points
over the first 13 minutes of the half.
"We did a good job of helping each other," Padgett said. "Our
whole defense is predicated on that. We didn't want to look past
tonight, that's how you get beat. In the second half, we just went
out and took care of business."