LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)—Rick Pitino and the 20th-ranked Louisville Cardinals have a lot to work on and little time to do it.
Edgar Sosa scored 13 of his 16 points in the first half and No. 20 Louisville beat East Tennessee State 69-56 on Saturday.
The Cardinals won despite shooting just 36.4 percent, including just 6 of 30 from beyond the 3-point line. Louisville used an 18-0 run in the first half to turn a three-point deficit into a 25-10 lead.
“We were playing good defense,” Pitino said. “We’re getting to the offensive glass, (but) we’re just painfully young.”
Sosa was one of the few Louisville players to shoot well in the first half. He only missed one of his five shots, including hitting three 3-pointers. The rest of the Cardinals were just 8-for-26 before the break. Louisville finished the game
Louisville (2-0) also played most of the first half without Samardo Samuels, who committed two fouls in the first seven minutes. While he finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds, Pitino thought the sophomore center and his teammates could have performed better on the boards. Both teams grabbed 44 rebounds, but the Buccaneers had a 30-19 edge in the second half.
“I’m not pleased with anybody rebounding the baskeball,” Pitino said.
Justin Tubbs led the Buccaneers (1-3) with 18 points and Micah Williams added 12. ETSU was without senior Mike Smith, who averaged 15.3 points and 7.7 rebounds last season for the Atlantic Sun conference tournament champions.
“We’re never pleased with losing,” ETSU coach Murry Bartow said. “With our best player out, I thought our guys competed hard, fought hard. “(It was) certainly a step up from our last game.”
The game served as the home opener for Louisville and the final one at Freedom Hall, Louisville’s home court since 1956. Louisville, which was the last ranked team to start the season, started a stretch of three home games in as many days, as part of the Hall of Fame Showcase.
The Cardinals host Morgan State on Sunday and finish the showcase on Monday against Appalachian State.
“We’re playing a team that’s much better in terms of their experience,” Pitino said. “We want time to teach. There’s nothing I can do about it. You want time to teach with all the mistakes you make, but you’ve got to get ready for the next opponent. That’s the disappointing thing about these types of games.”