Louisville Cardinals vs. Chattanooga Mocs Pick & Prediction NOVEMBER 10th 2023


Louisville goes into its Friday night matchup with Chattanooga on a positive note.

Shaking the memory of losing nine straight games to begin the 2022-23 season, the Cardinals started the 2023 season by edging UMBC — 94-93 on Monday — in a wild game.

“We needed this win,” said second-year coach Kenny Payne, who looked relieved in the aftermath. “We needed it for the guys in that locker room so, for me to sit here and talk about strategy and this and that … they fought for a win and they got a win.”

The Cardinals used 11 players, and just a few of those are left over from last season’s 4-28 debacle. Sophomore guard Mike James had his first double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds. James was 6 of 12 from the field and 13 of 14 at the foul line.

“Coach Payne told us at halftime that a win would dictate the rest of our season,” James said. “I was just playing hard, getting into the lane and they were fouling me.”

JJ Traynor came off the bench to add 13 points and three rebounds. It was his dunk with seven seconds remaining that helped give the Cardinals the win.

Skyy Clark and Tre White added points 11 apiece. One of the biggest contributions was freshman guard Ty-Laur Johnson’s 12 points off the bench.

Louisville hopes it can continue to drive the lane and get points in the paint. Payne has stressed getting touches in the lane, and on Monday the Cards had 60 points in the paint, which helped them shoot 50 percent (34-of-68) from the field.

Chattanooga (1-0) is coming off an 89-44 victory over Division III Covenant on Monday. The Mocs controlled the game and were never threatened.

“We didn’t play our sharpest,” Mocs coach Dan Earl said. “There were a lot of mistakes out there.”

Jan Zidek, a transfer from Pepperdine, had 25 points and six rebounds. Sam Alexis added nine points, a career-high 13 rebounds, five blocks and four assists.

The Mocs (18-17 last season) were picked fifth in the Southern Conference in the preseason coaches’ poll.

–Field Level Media

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