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Volume 68, Issue 92, February 10, 2003


Cougars can't turn back clock

UH honors Guy V., but team falls behind early to No. Cards

By Emily Davis
The Daily Cougar

The Cougars turned back the clock for Guy V. Lewis Night on Saturday, honoring their 80-year-old legendary former coach at halftime of a game against the team that gave him his most memorable victory.

Freshman guard Cederick Hensley had 14 points and six rebounds, but the Cougars couldnit keep up with the No. 5 Louisville Cardinals on Saturday. UH lost the game 81-55 and fell to 6-13 (4-4 in Conference USA).

Allen Cernosek/The Daily Cougar

It was in the semifinals of the 1983 NCAA Tournament that UH and Louisville played a game for the ages, a high-flying dunkfest between No. 1 UHis Phi Slama Jama and No. 2 Louisvilleis Doctors of Dunk that is etched in the memories of anyone who saw it.

The Cougars prevailed in that classic 94-81, and they hoped to have history repeat itself when they welcomed back both Guy V. and the Cardinals before a rollicking packed house of 7,969 on Saturday.

That was then. 

Now, twenty years later, the Cougars and Cardinals found themselves worlds apart, and No. 5 Louisville made the world know it by sprinting out to an early lead and never looking back in an 81-55 thrashing of UH before a national television audience on ESPN.

"Our guys battled and competed, but we just couldnit handle them," said UH head coach Ray McCallum, whose team fell to 6-13 overall and 4-4 in Conference USA. "Louisville is a great team."

And a <I>big<P> team, too. The Cardinals used their huge size advantage to dominate from both inside and out, out-rebounding the Cougars 42-33 and limiting UH to just 26 percent shooting in the first half, when Louisville raced to a 45-21 advantage.

"Louisville has some athletes, thatis for sure," McCallum said. "They outweighed (some of our guys) by 35 pounds. They are long, big athletes."

And Louisville has plenty of them, including backups Eric Brown and Luke Whitehead, whose full-court pressure fueled a 22-6 first-half run that pushed the Cardinalsi lead to 33-11.

"We have great pressure defense," Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said. "We rotated the ball well and executed like we wanted to."

Still, the Cougars were able to find a silver lining even in their darkest of hours this season. Freshman Cederick Hensley had 14 points, six rebounds and a highlight-reel block on a breaking-away Marvin Stone that brought the crowd to its feet.

"Iive really been working hard in practice to be aggressive," Hensley said. "My coaches have been staying on me, and Iive been working on my defense."

Making such a statement against a player of Stoneis caliber made it even bigger for Hensley. The Louisville center had a game-high of 17 points and tacked on eight rebounds to pace the Cardinals, just as he has done all season.

"Without Stone, wins like this would not be possible," said Pitino, whose No. 5 Cardinals improved to 18-1 and 8-0 in C-USA while extending their winning streak to 17 games, tops in the nation. "We have something most teams donit have in Stone. Heis passing great and making great shots."

With Stone and Reece Gaines (16 points, five assists) controlling the tempo, UH was never able to get on track, despite solid efforts from the usual suspects, including Louis Truscott (13 points, five rebounds) and Jeremee McGuire (11 points, six rebounds and two blocks).

"Louis was frustrated tonight," McCallum said. "We have to give him the ball, and they didnit let us."

McCallum was able to take heart in the fact his team never gave up, despite fighting an uphill battle from the opening tip. The Cougars improved their shooting to 48 percent in the second half, when they were outscored 36-34.

"We attacked in the second half," McCallum said. "We got on a roll and didnit let up."

UH must now hit the road to try to make up for back-to-back home losses, taking on Charlotte on Wednesday and South Florida on Saturday before returning to Hofheinz Pavilion to face Southern Miss on Feb. 18.

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