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December 22, 2010
Toppers Blitzed 114-82 by Louisville
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The remaining fans in Diddle Arena at the media timeout with 3:03 left in the second half got a treat. Because WKU scored 70 points, fans received a coupon for free fried pickles at Toot's.
The Toppers had 75 points at that point. They still trailed by 28 points.
Porous defense by WKU and hot shooting by visiting Louisville were a bad mix for the Toppers, who were routed 114-82. The game also took place in front of a sold-out crowd of 7,326.
"It's disappointing," coach Ken McDonald said. "I wanna thank our fans for coming out. I haven't seen this place like this in a long, long time, since 2003. There's no question, as a coaching staff and as a team, all these guys are working hard. They wanna make the fans proud, so you missed an opportunity to do that, importantly. In the non-league, we've missed a lot of opportunities."
The Cardinals were hot from the beginning, knocking down three-point shot after three-point shot. By halftime, Louisville had connected on ten three-pointers and finished the game hitting 16-30 three-pointers.
"Once people start hitting, you've gotta recognize shooters," senior forward Sergio Kerusch said. "You have to adjust. It's a game of runs and we adjusted, but we adjusted a little too late."
WKU had trouble all game defending the hot-shooting Cardinals. They finished the game at a 64.6% clip from the floor.
The only thing that kept the Toppers in the game early on was a hot shooting streak by junior guard Kahlil McDonald, who hit three three-pointers from the 11:50 mark int he first half, to the 8:52 mark. With 7:54 remaining in the first half, the Toppers trailed just 25-24. He finished with just two points the rest of the way.
"It just builds confidence and hopefully, this is the game right here," Kahlil McDonald said. "Even though we lost by a large margin, hopefully this game will boost my confidence and defensively, help out. Any way to help the team, it's whatever."
Louisville coach Rick Pitino didn't discredit the Toppers. Though he reaped praise of his sophomore point guard, Peyton Siva, who knocked down four three-pointers, had eight assists and finished with 29 points.
"We could've beat a lot of great teams tonight, playing like that," he said. "Every shot went in, we executed to perfection in all phases of the game. It's really not Western playing poorly, it's really just us being on fire. It's on of those nights where everything goes right for a team."
Kerusch led WKU with 21 points, while senior forward Juan Pattillo added 19 points in 26 minutes off the bench.
WKU shot a respectable 44.4 percent from the floor, but even so, could not make a dent in Louisville's armor and never led in the game. There wasn't a lot of good to take from the game, minus the fried pickles. But Kerusch did find one silver lining.
"The thing that I'm proud of with this team is we didn't give up," Kerusch said. "I feel we played down to the last minute. We dove on balls, we tried to dive and get steals. In a situation like that, of course the score matters, but just the fact that we still played like we had a chance to win, that's important to us."