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Louisville looking to reach .500 vs. Arkansas State

louisville-looking-to-reach-500-vs.-arkansas-state

Louisville coach Kenny Payne believed his team’s preparation would lead to a win Saturday at DePaul, but the Cardinals suffered a disappointing loss instead.

Louisville hopes its preparation will match its performance Wednesday night when the team hosts Arkansas State.

The Cardinals (4-5) will surpass their win total from Payne’s disastrous first season (4-28) with their next victory, but they were hoping to have their fifth win already.

Instead, Louisville will return home after a pair of frustrating 75-68 losses at Virginia Tech and DePaul that extended its road losing streak to 21 games.

On Dec. 3, against Virginia Tech, the Cardinals allowed 48 percent shooting from the field in the second half and gave up 19 free throws.

Six days later, Louisville got outscored 18-2 over the final 5:51 of the first half and struggled immensely on offense when DePaul deployed a zone defense.

“A little bit — well, very — disappointed in how we came out today,” Payne said after his team shot 39.7 percent from the floor.

Payne hopes to see another effective showing from Mike James, who scored 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field and is 14-for-32 in his past three games after going 3-of-19 combined in the previous three.

Skyy Clark added 16 points vs. DePaul. He hit 6 of 17 shots from the floor but got to the foul line only twice after attempting 28 free throws in his previous three games.

“We’ve got to be consistent,” James said. “Some games, we’ll play good, some games we’ll bring a lot of energy and some games we won’t.”

Arkansas State (3-7) will face its fourth opponent from a power conference and hopes this game goes better than the first three after getting outscored by 67 points in losses at Wisconsin, Iowa and Alabama.

The Red Wolves will head to Louisville after one of their better showings offensively as they shot 50.8 percent from the field and hit 13 3-pointers in an 87-68 home rout of Alabama-Birmingham on Saturday. Izaiyah Nelson led five Arkansas State scorers in double figures with 17 points.

Coach Bryan Hodgson praised the Red Wolves’ fans after the game.

“Can’t thank our amazing fans enough,” he said on social media. “The atmosphere today was amazing, and how about that student section?!!! Was a huge home court advantage!!!! Thanks so much!!!”

–Field Level Media

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