Enoch, Nwora enjoy big nights in Louisville's rout
By STEVE BITTENBENDER
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) All season, Louisville coach Chris Mack has wanted to establish Steven Enoch's presence in the post. The junior did just that on both sides of the court Wednesday.
Enoch, a 6-foot-11 center who sat out last season after transferring from Connecticut, and Jordan Nwora both put up big nights for the Cardinals, who cruised to an 86-41 victory over Central Arkansas on Wednesday night.
Enoch posted career highs of 16 points and nine rebounds. He needed fewer than five minutes to notch his fifth double-figure scoring game this season. Enoch started 5 for 5 as he scored the first 10 points for the Cardinals (6-2), who never trailed.
"Most of the time, you see a weakness in their defense, that's where you attack," said Enoch, who finished 7 of 10 from the floor.
He also got Hayden Koval, the Bears' starting center, in early foul trouble, drawing three fouls against the 7-footer in less than nine minutes in the first half. Koval played less than 14 minutes before fouling out midway through the second half.
"I thought he did as good a job as he's done all year," Mack said of Enoch.
Nwora, a sophomore forward, scored Louisville's first eight points in the second half. He ended up with 21, two off his personal best. He hit all four of his 3-point shots en route to a 7-for-10 shooting performance.
The Bears (3-5), who have now lost four of their last five games, struggled against a tough Louisville defense and were held scoreless over the last 5:56. They shot a season-low 25 percent, well below their season average of 46 percent.
The Bears five starters all averaged at least 9.1 points a game, but none scored more than six Wednesday. SK Shittu led Central Arkansas with eight points.
Bears coach Russ Pennell gave all the credit to the Cardinals defense.
"We couldn't get anything inside and we started settling for jump shots," he said. "When you're struggling with your shooting, you've got to get something going to the basket. Either post up or get to the foul line. We didn't get any of that, especially the first half."
Louisville shot 51.7 percent as Mack emptied his bench. No one played more than 23 minutes, and 11 players scored.
V.J. King scored season-high 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting for the Cardinals. It ended a four-game mini-slump for the junior wing, who made just 6 of 25 shots in that stretch and was moved to the bench. He scored six straight points in 2:32 stretch late in the contest.
The 6-6 King finished his night with a one-handed putback dunk to give Louisville a 40-point lead with 3:24 left.
"I was just trying to crash the offensive glass, and I was up there. So I figured there wasn't no need to come back down with it," said King, the Cardinals' lone returning starter from last season.
One day after being hired by the Cardinals, new football coach Scott Satterfield and his family were introduced during a first-half timeout. The crowd of 14,920 greeted the former Appalachian State coach with a 90-second-long standing ovation. He thanked the fans for welcoming him and his family and encouraged the crowd to bring the same passion to Cardinal Stadium next fall.
Central Arkansas: The Bears entered Wednesday having made more than 39 percent of its 3-point shots, but they couldn't find the mark against the Cardinals. They made just one of their first 11 tries from beyond the arc, which helped Louisville build a lead as big as 29 points in the first half. The finish was as bad as the start as the Bears missed 14 of their last 16 shots.
Louisville: Coming off two big wins last week, the Cardinals avoided an emotional letdown by taking control early against an outmatched foe. Louisville dominated inside, scoring 10 of its first 15 baskets on layups or dunks and enjoyed a 48-36 rebounding edge.
Central Arkansas: The Bears play Little Rock Saturday. It'll be their second matchup with the Trojans in 11 days, as the Bears won 78-65 on Nov. 28.
Louisville: The Cardinals travel to Indiana for a Saturday afternoon contest. Both teams received votes in this week's Top 25 poll.
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Updated December 5, 2018