Louisville's thoroughbreds don't all reside at Churchill Downs. There are some horses on the University of Louisville basketball team, too.
"One through five they were all very athletic, maybe the most athletic team we'll play all year," Kansas guard Patrick Richey said after the Jayhawks' shocking 85-78 loss to 8-3 Louisville on Saturday night at Allen Fieldhouse. "They could run and they could jump. They were shot blockers, really talented."
The Cardinals, who snapped KU's 24-game home win streak, did take advantage of 22 Jayhawk turnovers. Yet Louisville also hit a sizzling 2 percent from the field (58.3 the second half) and 32 of 43 free throws.
"IT SEEMED everything they threw up went in. They made every free throw in crunch time," said Richey, who swished two three-pointers for the Jayhawks. Kansas made just five of 17 threes against Louisville's agressive, man-to-man defense.
"Their defense was unusual. They were switching and everything and it seemed to confuse us. It shouldn't have, but it did," Richey said. "We had a lot of unforced turnovers. We were out of our game."
Hence KU lost a game.
"It definitely hurts," Richey said. "My goal was to go through four years not losing a game in Allen Fieldhouse. Teams shouldn't come in here and beat us like Louisville did."
Unlike Richey, junior guard Adonis Jordan, who scored 13 points 11 the second half had experienced a loss in Allen before.
"It's my second loss at home since I've been at Kansas," said Jordan, recalling a 77-71 loss to Missouri back on Feb. 13, 1990. "Hopefully I'll have just two now in my career. It's tough. I'm sure it'll be on our minds a while, even on the bus ride to Missouri (for Monday night's game in Columbia)."
WHY DID KANSAS lose?
"Louisville has a good team," Jordan said. "Also we didn't execute well. Rebounds killed us (40-30 in favor of the Cards). I was three of 11. It was one of those nights."
Junior guard Rex Walters, who had 16 points, four rebounds and four turnovers, figured KU's defense wasn't up to par. Louisville's Dwayne Morton scored 20 points on eight-of-10 shooting and Greg Minor added 12 points on five-of-eight marksmanship. Everick Sullivan had 17 points but hit just three of 10 shots. He cashed 10 of 12 free throws.
"We missed a lot of shots (KU hit 29 of 60 for 48 percent), but it was our defense," said Walters. "We didn't take them out of their offense. Louisville did a lot of one-on-one stuff. It was a tough game. It seems like we'd get up, then we'd be automatically down."
LOUISVILLE, down by five early in the second half, did seem to answer most of KU's key hoops. For example, just seconds after Walters' three-pointer tied the score at 76 with 2:43 left, Morton cashed a 14-footer to put Louisville back up.
"I don't think we played well tonight. It seems we were trying to protect the way we were and what we had," Walters said, referring to an unblemished record. "Maybe we were sitting back somewhat. We're an aggressive-type team. Maybe this will get us back to being the aggressive team we need to be."