PIKEVILLE, Ky. – Four starters reached double figures and two recorded double-doubles as the No. 2 Louisville Cardinals knocked off No. 9 Pikeville 93-57 Thursday night.
Louisville, in its first exhibition game of the season, shot 49.4 percent overall and dominated the glass against the guard-oriented Bears to the tune of 55-32.
But Pikeville, 2-0 in the regular season, gave the Cards some concern. It led 6-2 in the early stages of the game, held the hosts to 3-of-13 (23.1 percent) shooting from the arc and forced 18 turnovers.
Coach Rick Pitino, having the Bears in for an exhibition for the second time in as many seasons, was impressed with the strong guards from Pikeville. He was particularly intrigued by seniors Jamar “Deuce” Briscoe and Chris Johnson.
“They have two of the quickest guards you’ll see, and they always play under control,” he said.
Briscoe was particularly on, scoring 26 points thanks to 4-of-9 shooting from the arc. He also had five rebounds. Johnson had five points, five rebounds and five of his team’s 11 steals.
Senior center Gorgui Dieng used his 6-11, 245-pound frame to control the middle, scoring 16 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. He also blocked five shots. Teammate Montrez Harrell, a 6-8, 235 freshman, had a team-high 19 points and 13 rebounds.
The duo was 15-of-24 from the floor.
Guards Peyton Siva and Russ Smith had 17 markers apiece. Siva added six assists and three steals.
Jumpers by senior guard Trevor Setty and Briscoe put the Bears on top 4-0 early. After a dunk by Dieng, Briscoe hit another jumper after a steal by junior forward Brandon Greene to make it 6-2 with 17:02 left.
But the Cards found themselves, rolling out 13 unanswered points to take a 15-6 lead after a Smith layup with 14:26 left.
At the half, Louisville’s lead was 44-23.
Setty joined Briscoe in double figures for the Bears with 13 points and paced the Bears with seven rebounds.
The only real healthy post player on the roster, Greene finished with seven points and six rebounds.
Louisville has one more exhibition before opening the season on Nov. 11 against Manhattan when crosstown Bellarmine University comes to the KFC Yum! Center on Nov. 7.
Pikeville returns to regular-season play on Saturday when it begins the BB&T Classic. The Bears will play Ohio Mid-Western College at 8 p.m., and on Sunday at 4 will entertain Cincinnati-Clermont at the East Kentucky Expo Center.