Kuric leads No. 5 Louisville over FDU 80-58
By COLIN FLY
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Louisville coach Rick Pitino told Kyle Kuric to finally fill up a box score after not shooting enough in the opening month of the season.
The senior forward responded following the pregame pep talk.
Kuric scored 18 points and Gorgui Dieng added 14 points and 12 rebounds to lift No. 5 Louisville to an 80-58 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson on Saturday - the Cardinals' 17th straight win at the KFC Yum! Center.
"I told him the speech before the game, `I'm tired of you not having an assist, I'm tired of you not having an offensive rebound,'" Pitino said. "He's still not shooting the ball enough. He's got shots and he's not taking them. He's got to shoot the ball more."
Kuric finished with six rebounds, including three on the offensive end, to go with three assists, two steals and a blocked shot. Still, he was frustrated at his 2-for-8 effort from 3-point range.
"I'm trying to do a lot of things. I was just taking what was there," Kuric said. "It wasn't falling today and coach just told me to keep shooting. I just tried to run the floor and get easy baskets."
Peyton Siva had 16 points and nine assists for Louisville, which is in the midst of a 10-game homestand that will get a lot tougher when the Cardinals host No. 21 Memphis next Saturday after finishing final exams this coming week.
Louisville (9-0) used a 10-0 run late in the first half to open up a 19-point advantage at the break and was never threatened in the second half.
"I just loved it," Goode said. "I enjoyed every minute of it. I would never change it for the world. I was happy to be back."
In addition to Memphis, the Cardinals' upcoming schedule also features meetings with No. 18 Georgetown on Dec. 28 and top-ranked Kentucky on Dec. 31.
"We're happy with the win, now we've got a week to prepare for one of the more athletic teams in the country in Memphis and we still have a lot of improvements to make," Pitino said.
Louisville has already had seven different players sit out games this season with Saturday's absence of reserve guard Russ Smith (neck), but the Cardinals have relied on defense to remain undefeated.
Louisville took a double-digit lead midway through the first half, but there were plenty of teaching points with Pitino's team seeing a variety of zones for the first time.
"I thought the first 10 minutes we attacked the zone really, really well," the coach said. "I think the game was in hand, we just wanted to basically just work on things because we haven't seen too much zone."
Pitino called a timeout after Goode's putback dunk cut Louisville's lead to 27-18 when no one blocked out their former teammate, but Dieng grabbed an offensive rebound after the sideline chat and scored to spark a 10-0 run that made the margin 19 points with 2:39 left in the first half.
FDU, which has lost 19 of its last 20 on the road and was picked to finish last in the Northeast Conference, never came closer than 16 the rest of the way.
Siva, Elisha Justice, Mike Marra, Stephan Van Treese, Wayne Blackshear and Rakeem Buckles have all missed at least one game this season because of injury. Buckles returned from right knee surgery after missing nearly 10 months in a 90-60 victory over IUPUI on Wednesday, but he did not play against the Knights.
Goode, a role player at Louisville who received a degree in communications before leaving for the Knights, got a loud ovation during pregame and shook Pitino's hand after being introduced. He also scored the game's first points with a dunk, but FDU's lead would be short-lived.
Siva answered with two layups and Louisville never trailed the rest of the way thanks to Kuric's big effort.
"Kyle is always there," Siva said. "He's going to do a little bit of everything for us."
Updated December 10, 2011