Jan. 5, 2008
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Billy Gillispie's debut in the rivalry locals call "The Dream Game" turned into another nightmarish chapter for overmatched Kentucky.
Juan Palacios scored a season-high 17 points to lead five Louisville players in double figures as the Cardinals snapped a three-game losing streak to the Wildcats, beating Kentucky 89-75 on Saturday.
Jerry Smith scored 17 points and Terrence Williams had 15 points and six rebounds for the Cardinals (10-4), who used a suffocating press and steady play from their veterans to quiet a raucous Rupp Arena crowd.
The Wildcats had hoped an upset of their rivals would help erase the memory of stunning home losses to Gardner-Webb and San Diego.
Instead, Kentucky (6-7) will stumble into SEC play under .500 for the first time since 1988-89, the year before Louisville coach Rick Pitino arrived in Lexington.
Ramel Bradley led Kentucky with 27 points and Joe Crawford added 19 in his final game against the Cardinals, but the Wildcats shot just 41 percent and wore down in the second half against the bigger, deeper and more experienced Cardinals.
Louisville harassed Kentucky freshman forward Patrick Patterson all game, blocking several of his shots and muscling him out of the lane. Patterson finished with four points on 3-of-14 shooting and turned the ball over six times.
The Cardinals trailed by one at the break, but took control with a dizzying 11 minutes at the start of the second half. Louisville reeled off eight straight points to grab the lead, forcing the Wildcats into turnovers and then racing the other way down the floor.
After settling for jumpers in the first half, the Cardinals attacked the basket in the second. The result was easier shots or free throws, and the lead eventually ballooned to 62-40 with just over nine minutes left.
Kentucky frantically trimmed the margin to 10 with 1:22 remaining, but Louisville made enough free throws down the stretch to put it away.
The game lacked a high level of play - the teams combined for 36 turnovers and 56 fouls - but not the intensity of years past.
Things briefly got ugly with just more than eight minutes left when Bradley intentionally fouled Louisville center David Padgett hard on a wide-open layup. Williams rose to Padgett's defense, exchanging heated words with Bradley before they were separated by officials. Williams received a technical foul before order was restored.
Louisville played without leading rebounder Earl Clark, who missed the game for unspecified reasons, though spokesman Kenny Klein said Clark's absence was not injury-related. Clark wore an all-red jumpsuit and sat at the end of the bench during the game.
The Cardinals didn't need him against the undersized Wildcats. Louisville dominated the glass when it mattered, and had little trouble getting into the lane for quality shots.
Kentucky made it competitive in the first half, rallying from an early 11-point deficit behind the play of Bradley and Crawford. The two had never lost to Louisville, and they willed the Wildcats to a 31-30 halftime lead, combining for 16 points. Three of them came on an acrobatic three-point play by Bradley, who absorbed a hard foul from Padgett and then added the free throw.