COLLEGE BASKETBALL : Louisville Roundly Rejects No. 5 Kentucky, Ends Skid
Samaki Walker blocked Kentucky’s quest for a fifth consecutive victory over Louisville.
The freshman center set a school record with 11 blocked shots, scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as Louisville defeated the fifth-ranked Wildcats, 88-86, before 19,841 in Freedom Hall on Sunday.
Walker capped his day with three blocks in the last 66 seconds, denying Kentucky (6-2) the basket it needed to draw even with the Cardinals (7-3).
“I had no idea I had that many blocks,” Walker said. “It’s something to be proud of. Kentucky has a lot of big people. It was really important for me to play aggressive and meet the challenge. I think I did.”
With the 6-foot-9 Walker dominating inside, Louisville set a school record with 17 blocks, three more than against Wright State in 1983, when Charles Jones set the individual mark of 10.
Louisville took control with a 14-2 run in the second half, featuring the play of DeJuan Wheat, who scored 23 points. The Cardinals also got a lift down the stretch from walk-on B.J. Flynn, son of former Kentucky star Mike Flynn.
“We did it with mostly defense,” Wheat said of the run. “Give Samaki credit. He blocked some shots and they got the ball to me.”
Kentucky shot a season-low 34.1 percent (28 of 82) along with only 10 assists against Louisville’s pressing defense.
Tony Delk, hitting three of eight three-point shots, scored 23 points for Kentucky, Jeff Sheppard added 19 and Walter McCarty 17. Rodrick Rhodes scored only five points on one-for-nine shooting and fouled out late in the game.