49ers head to Louisville to challenge high-flying Cardinals
Louisville, KY – Hoping to remain perfect on the young league bout.
The 49ers come into tonight's meeting with a 3-2 overall ledger, and have dropped decisions in two of their last three outings, including a heartbreaking 73-71 setback on Saturday at Montana. The early 2011-12 schedule hasn't been, and doesn't figure to get, any easier for LBSU, as the club has five nationally-ranked programs scattered throughout its first 10 contests. The 49ers already did manage to knock off No. 9 Pittsburgh back on November 16th, but still have top-ranked North Carolina, No. 12 Xavier, and No. 14 Kansas on the slate after tonight's date with Louisville.
As for Louisville, the Cardinals most recently earned head coach Rick Pitino his 250th win at the helm of the program with a 59-54 victory over Ohio on Friday. The win also gave the Cardinals the Global Sports Invitational title, improved the squad's overall mark to 5-0, and gave Louisville 13-straight home victories.
Tonight marks the first-ever meeting between the two schools on the hardwood.
Despite T.J. Robinson's 41st career double-double for LBSU, the 49ers found themselves on the losing end of a 73-71 final at Montana on Saturday. The 49ers controlled the first half, taking a 38-32 lead into the break, but the Grizzlies rallied with a 59.1 percent effort from the field over the final 20 minutes to outscore LBSU by a 41-33 margin in the second frame. Robinson finished with 25 points and 13 boards in the losing effort, while Casper Ware and Larry Anderson registered 15 and 13 points, respectively. The 49ers converted just 40.4 percent from the floor during the contest, but did manage to put together a solid 28-of-36 effort at the charity stripe. A 46.8 team shooting percentage has given the 49ers a 74.2 ppg average, and the club also boasts three of players with a double-digit scoring average. Ware leads the way with 18.8 ppg, followed by Anderson and his 14.6 ppg. Robinson rounds out the trio, averaging 14.4 points to go with a team-high 11.6 rebounds per game.
As good as LBSU has been on offense, the Cardinals have been even better at the other end of the court, as the squad has limited opponents to 54 or fewer points in each of their five outings. The opposition is shooting at a meager 30.7 percent clip against the Cardinals, which includes a 22-of-88 mark from long range. The Cardinals haven't exactly been slackers on offense either, as the team converts a respectable 44.0 percent from the field as a team en route to a 66.6 ppg scoring average. The club does, however, own a single double- digit scorer, as Kyle Kuric paces the Louisville with 13.0 ppg. Chane Behanan and Chris Smith rest right at the cusp though, chipping in 9.2 and 9.0 ppg, respectively, with the former also responsible for 9.0 rpg as well. Kuric led the way for Louisville in the win over Ohio with 16 points, while Behanan checked in for 11 points and seven rebounds. Gorgui Dieng finished with a double-double of 10 points and 16 boards for the Cardinals, who stifled Ohio to the tune of 38.2 percent from the floor.