Dec. 20, 2013
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The University of Louisville men's basketball team escaped the cooler temperatures with a trip to Miami this week to face Florida International on Saturday at U.S. Century Bank Arena.
The Dec. 21 game will air at 6:07 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, with Adam Alexander (play-by-play) and Mike Gminski (analyst) calling the action. Paul Rogers (play-by-play) and Jody Demling (analyst) will announce the game on WHAS 840 AM.
The Cardinals have won both matchups in the series, with each contest taking place at Louisville. Last season, the Cardinals defeated the Panthers - then coached by Richard Pitino - 79-55 in the Billy Minardi Classic on Dec. 19, 2012. Wayne Blackshear had 18 points and eight rebounds, and Chane Behanan totaled 14 points and 11 rebounds.
No. 6/4 Louisville pushed its winning streak to five straight - improving its season record to 10-1 - after a 90-60 win over Missouri State. Collectively, Louisville shot 51.5 percent from the field and finished with a 51-30 advantage on the boards. The Cardinals scored 46 points in the paint and totaled 21 second-chance points.
Montrezl Harrell led the Cardinals with a game-high 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting, while totaling eight rebounds and two blocks. Russ Smith had 11 points and eight assists, and Terry Rozier had similar totals with 11 points and eight rebounds.
Missouri State's Jarmar Gulley totaled a team-high 14 points and six rebounds.
Through Dec. 15, the Cardinals rank in the top-15 nationally in seven statistical categories: scoring margin (No. 1; +25.5), turnover margin (No. 1; +10.1), turnovers per game (No. 1; 8.9), total steals (No. 5; 103), steals per game (No. 7; 10.3), assist-turnover ratio (No. 9; 1.7), and scoring defense (No. 14; 60.4).
Florida International, which has been idle for exactly two weeks, is currently 8-4 and has won three of its last five games.
The Panthers' last game, against Florida Gulf Coast on Dec. 7, resulted in 72-61 victory. FIU shot 52 percent from the field in the second half and went 22 for 25 from the charity stripe for the game.
FIU's Tymell Murphy scored a game-high 23 points - he went 10-of-10 from the free throw line - while registering three blocks and three steals. Former UofL men's basketball player Rakeem Buckles, who spent three seasons with the Cardinals, had 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Panthers, and Dennis Mavin poured in 19 points in the win.
Murphy is pacing the Panthers with 16.3 points per game, while Buckles is averaging a double-double of 14.7 points and 10.5 rebounds. Two other players are averaging double-digit points as well. Notably, Murphy is shooting 61 percent from the field.
During the preseason, Murphy was named one of 16 Conference USA preseason Players to Watch.
The Panthers are under the direction of first-year coach Anthony Evans. He spent the previous six seasons as the Norfolk State head coach, guiding the program to a 99-94 record. The Panthers returned two starters from last season's squad that went 18-14.
GAME FACTS - Louisville at Florida International
Date: Saturday, Dec. 21
Time: 6:07 p.m. ET
Site: U.S. Century Bank Arena, Miami, Fla. (5,000)
TV: FOX Sports 1 will broadcast the game, with Adam Alexander (play-by-play) and Mike Gminski (analyst) calling the action.
Radio: WHAS 840 AM will broadcast the game, with Paul Rogers (play-by-play) and Jody Demling (analyst) calling the action. The broadcast also is available on SIRIUS channel 85 and XM channel 85.
Series History: UofL leads 2-0 (2-0 in Louisville)
Next UofL Game: Dec. 28 at Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., 4 p.m. ET (CBS; WLKY in Louisville)