Many buses at Jefferson Transportation but just a UK bus for Louisville fans

University of Louisville fans showing up early Friday morning for a trip to South Bend were greeted by a giant bus bearing University of Kentucky advertising (WDRB TV graphic).

No sign of any giant buses ensconced with University of Kentucky logos or advertising at 11117 Decimal Drive in Jeffersontown on Monday morning.

That’s the address of the corporate headquarters that dispatched a UK bus to Cardinal Stadium on Friday to take 50 University of Louisville fans on a trip to South Bend, Ind. There were, however, 15 other tour buses bearing either Shockey Tours or Jefferson Transportation markings on Monday morning.

Numerous buses at the corporate headquarters but nothing but UK buses for Louisville fans (Charlie Springer photos).

Imagine the shock of approximately 50 UofL diehards who had for weeks been anticipating a fun trip with fellow fans to see their basketball team play at Notre Dame. Only to see a University of Kentucky bus arrive at the pickup point, according to a WDRB news report.

What were the transportation people thinking? That the group was going to some of the Midwest’s top casinos? Going sightseeing in January? A big family reunion in Northern Indiana? Not this trip, strictly basketball.

One UofL fan upon learning about the incident sent an angry email to Shockey Tours, angrily complaining:  “There’s no way you guys didn’t send that UK bus on purpose for the South Bend trip. Those customers deserve their money back.  If you don’t offer that, you should be ashamed. That’s just poor business. I’m all for rivalry and pranks but I wouldn’t be juvenile enough to let it cross over into my  business and customer service.”

He did receive a response from a Steve Cisco, apparently the driver who replied via Messager,  “Were you aware that this company is under new ownership? I was handed this trip a few days back with nothing but a pickup location, time and destination. I knew nothing of this group. I have offered a substantial discount on their next travel.”

Shockey Tours was purchased by Jefferson Transportation in Murray, Ky., in September (Charlie Springer photo).

Can’t imagine the person making the arrangements for 50 people never mentioning that a UofL group was attending a basketball game against Notre Dame. Likewise, it hard to see how one of the few UK-marked buses being the one that showed up.  It would seem like a bus driver would have much more information about a tour group. Was this really a coincidence or was he deliberately kept in the dark? Maybe the joke was him.

The Shockey Tours headquarters on Decimal Drive in Jeffersontown (Charlie Springer photo).

The company providing the bus, one of those large 56-passenger buses, was Jefferson Transportation, a Murray, Ky.-based business, which recently purchased all of Shockey Tours assets in Louisville. The company owns dozens, if not hundreds of buses in Louisville alone.

Jefferson Transportation has yet to respond to a telephone call from Card Game about the experience.

Another question that begs to be answered is why the University of Kentucky would be purchasing advertising on buses in Louisville. No one should be surprised that a school that has purchased local billboards for years would be seeking more exposure in the state’s largest city.

Many UK partisans no doubt laughing it up after hearing the story. It’s the kind of thing more than a few of them would wish upon Louisville fans. The kind of over reach that separates Cardinal fans from the insufferables.

Maybe, just maybe, it was a coincidence. However, the UofL fans who rode in a UK bus all the way to South Bend will never forget it and are unlikely to forgive the transportation provider anytime soon. If their team had not claimed a rare win over Notre Dame at South Bend, the 500-mile round trip would have been a total nightmare.

Louisville ends two-game skid, grinds win over Miami

Jordan Nwora capturing scoring honors once again, collecting a total of 19 points against Miami (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

Just Miami for the second time this season. Nothing about which for the University of Louisville basketball team to get too excited. The Cardinals having defeated the Hurricanes easily on their home court in the season opener way back on Nov. 5.

One of the more fun moments for UofL fans. Attendance was 14,980 (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Hitting on all cylinders early in the first half, Louisville racing out to a 30-10 lead. The killer instinct nowhere to be found, allowing Miami to reduce the deficit to five points in the second half. UofL would do just enough to grind out a 74-58 win before 14,980 fans at the KFC Yum! Center.

An offense that struggles when it should be taking advantage of defensive weaknesses, finding ways not to score when they could put the game out of reach. Needing a lesser opponent to pose a serious threat before generating any extra intensity.

The good news was that the two-game losing streak came to an end after losses to Kentucky and Florida State.

Darius Perry had nine points and three assists against Miami (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Jordan Nwora on cue, leading his team in scoring with 19 points, including three of five 3-point attempts. Steve Enoch still not getting it in the post but managing 12 points and 10 rebounds. Darius Perry and Dwayne Sutton contributing 10 and nine points, respectively.

A grinder of a game, more of a nodding affair than anyone anticipated. Not the easy win at home this team could have used before hitting the road for three ACC games. UofL returns to town Jan. 22nd for a game against Georgia Tech.

 

Milestone day for Jazmine Jones, nail biter against Duke

Cindy Rice Shelton photo

The University of Louisville honored military veterans before the game Sunday but then had to battle Duke to the final horn in improving its record to 14-1 (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Something about teams on losing streaks that makes them extremely dangerous.  The Duke women’s basketball team, for example, entering Sunday’s game against the University of Louisville on a three-game decline.

Dana Evans was held scoreless for almost three quarters before scoring 10 points in the come from behind win (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Suddenly an intimidating force, presenting offensive and defensive challenges for the seventh-ranked Cardinals. Louisville would somehow survive with a 60-55 win before 10,123 at the KFC Yum! Center.

”It was a game where we had to grind,” said UofL Coach Jeff Walz. ”Jaz stepped up and knocked down pull-up jump shots. She played really, really well, and that’s what we’re going to need now. We’re going to need that consistency.”

The Blue Devils racing to a 22-12 in the first quarter, threatening to put the game away. Jazmine Jones almost singlehandedly keeping UofL close, scoring her team’s first nine points and 14 of Louisville’s 25 points in the first half.  Duke went to the intermission with a 31-25 lead. 

Mykasa Robinson doesn’t shoot often but she came through with six points in the second half (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Down 39-33 midway through the third quarter, UofL used an 8-0 run capped by back-to-back baskets by Elizabeth Balogun to take a 41-39 lead. 

After Duke tied the game at 55-55 with 1:06 left, Evans drained a deep 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock to put UofL ahead 58-55 with 36 seconds to go. Bionca Dunham would sink two free throws to seal the 60-55 victory.

Duke Coach Joanna McCallie bemoaning inequality in the officiating, noting that her team had only four free throw attempts compared to 11 for Louisville. “That was very interesting,” she reiterated at least three times in  her post game press conference. “A very physical game.”

Louisville next travels to Miami for another Atlantic Coast Conference game. The Hurricanes are on a two-game losing streak.

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Jones set a new career high with 26 points, her sixth 20-point game of the season. She also 10 rebounds for her first double-double on the season. Jones also became Louisville’s 30th career 1,000 point scorer.

Louisville bench erupts after Elizabeth Dixon’s basket to tie the score with three minutes to go in the third quarter (Mike DeZarn photo).

 

Familiar sinking feeling for Louisville basketball

Photos by Cindy Rice Shelton

Interesting how quickly things started to go downhill after the University of Louisville basketball team rose to become the No. 1 team early this season. Jumping out to a 9-0 record, utilizing primarily the same players from an unranked team last season.

Jordan Nwora back to a familiar role, doing most of the scoring for the University of Louisville (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

Seems like a long time but little more than a month ago. The lofty ranking more than a little premature, as Coach Chris Mack indicated at the time. With their 78-65 loss to Florida State at the KFC Yum! Center on Saturday, the Cardinals have lost three of their past five games.

Ranked seventh going into the game, Louisville will be out of the top 10 next week, possibly headed back to obscurity again. Few signs of any progress since being exposed by Texas Tech at Madison Square Garden. No bouncing back after the annual loss to Kentucky.

David Johnson with 19 minutes of playing time a hopeful sign for UofL (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

Before the season began, UofL was predicted to be a top five team, largely based on having one of the best recruiting classes in the nation. Once a starter, five-start recruit Samuell Williamson saw less than eight minutes of playing time on Saturday, claiming a rebound but not scoring a point.

Highly acclaimed freshman guard David Johnson, who missed several games due to injury, actually played 19 minutes. He had four points and three assists but with three turnovers. Freshmen Josh Nickelberry and Aiden Igiehon seeing less than two minutes. Fifth-year transfer Lamarr Kimble contributed six points, three assists and three turnovers.

Familiar scenario elsewhere with Jordan Nwora scoring most of UofL’s points, a total of 32 points in this one. But Dwayne Sutton, Steven Enoch, Darius Perry, Ryan McMahon and Malik Williams adding a combined 23 points. On defense, allowing Florida State to hit 55% of their field goal attempts.

The rise to the top, occurring as quickly as it did, may have been the worst possible scenarios for a team that needed to improve dramatically from last season. Taking success for granted, not needing much effort to get national recognition, lacking significant motivation to work harder, to get better. 

The veterans, including Nwora, are exhibiting many of the same weaknesses from a year ago. Making many of the same mistakes, inconsistent on offense and defense, still overly dependent on Nwora. The freshmen, languishing on the bench thus far, needing experience. Going to have to get better the hard way, against the best that the Atlantic Coast Conference has to offer.

The leadership is going to have to come from the freshmen if it is to happen, but that scenario would appear to be unlikely — at least at this point in the season.

One of the few highlights for Louisville fans was the introduction of former UofL great Russ Smith (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

Jazmine Jones provides the Super on Heroes Day

Above Photo by Mike DeZarn

The University of Louisville women would need all of Jazmine Jones’ 24 points in a four-point win over Syracuse on Sunday (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).
These guys came costumed as The Incredibles on Super Hero Day at the KFC Yum! Center (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

The KFC Yum! Center was temporarily the center of the universe for many comic book characters on Sunday. Sprinkled throughout the crowd of 10,084 were such notorieties as Superman, Batman, and Captain America.

The one capturing the most hearts likely was the little girl showing up as Wonder Woman (see above photo). Up on her feet constantly, waving the L sign, cheering on her own heroes, standing ready to rescue the University of Louisville women’s basketball team if necessary.

Thankfully, Wonder Woman wasn’t needed on the court. Jazmine Jones was scoring 18 points for UofL in the first half, keeping the Cardinals in the game. She would total 24 points for the game, leading UofL to a 72-68 win over Syracuse. 

Elizabeth Balogun would get some “encouragement” from Coach Jeff Walz (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

The saving or clinching points would be provided by sophomore transfer Elizabeth Balogun, whose layup with 31 seconds left in the game would give Louisville a three-point lead. She would make one of two free throws at the 12-second mark for the final four-point margin.

Balogun would have a total of 13 points, along with four rebounds and a steal. Dana Evans, who was held scoreless in the first half, would wind up with nine points, including two 3-pointers, two assists and a steal.

Coach Jeff Walz warning UofL fans after the game that he expected every upcoming Atlantic Coast Conference game to be equally challenging, with many of them coming down to the wire like this one. Pretty credible, considering the close calls of the past three games — that included a one-point win over Kentucky and an overtime victory at Tennessee Martin.

No double-double for Kylee Shook in this one, the UofL senior managing only three points and four rebounds. She would be presented with a commorative basketball for setting the all-time blocks record for Louisville women’s basketball (adding two blocks in this game) (Cindy Rice Shelton photo}.