LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) -- In an interview prior to his team's game against No. 4 Louisville in the KFC Yum! Center Sunday, North Carolina Central coach LeVelle Moton said he believes the Cardinals are the best team in the country and called them a "monster."
Then the Cards (4-0) backed up Moton's opinion by blasting outmanned UNCC 87-58 with a dominating performance that was business-like and efficient, if not spectacular, and was their third straight lopsided victory against an opponent that had no business being on the same court. The details:
U of L shot 66.7 percent (30-45), including 47.8 from 3-point range (10-21), and had 20 assists on its 30 field goals.
Jordan Nwora led the Cards with 17 points, while Steven Enoch scored 15, Dwayne Sutton 15 and Darius Perry 11. Perry hit all four of his shots and also added a game-high seven assists.
UofL limited UNCC to 33.3 percent (19-57) and 23.1 from long range on 6-of-26.
Sutton said the caliber of competition has nothing to do with the way the Cards approach a game.
"Our goal is just to go out there and compete." Sutton said. "You want to bring energy every game, that's what Coach (Chris) Mack preaches. He believes in us and I think we do a good job running our offense and sharing the ball. We do a good job utilizing screens, that's why we're getting so many open threes. And getting the ball inside to Enoch makes us hard to guard."
The Cards didn't get off to quite as hot a start as they had recently, missing six of their first nine shots.
But then they heated up, hitting 12 of their last 14 while closing the first half with a 19-4 run. The Eagles started the second half with an 8-1 spurt, but Louisville quickly regained control.
"When you look at the final stats, with 20 assists, you're doing something right," Mack said. "We can be a little more patient on the offensive end and we didn't do as good a job as we should have in the last 8-10 minutes. Sometimes that's human nature, but it was a little disappointing."
Freshman guard David Johnson and returning big man Malik Williams may be close to returning. Both warmed up tonight and Mack says they could have played.
"I could have put them in the game tonight, but just because a doctor clears you, they haven't had their basketball legs under them in so long I'm not going to put those guys out there in a 25-or-30-point leg just yet," Mack said.
Louisville will have a couple more mismatches -- against South Carolina Upstate Wednesday and Akron Sunday -- before the schedule gets tougher with consecutive games against Western Kentucky, Michigan and Pittsburgh.
Russ Brown, a former sportswriter for The Courier-Journal and USA Today, covers University of Louisville sports and college football and basketball for Kentucky Today. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.