Dwayne Sutton not taking Kentucky lightly

By Ed Peak

Dwayne Sutton makes no bones about it. He and his family have been University of Louisville basketball fans forever. That’s why Saturday’s game against rival Kentucky is big to him.

Dwayne Sutton doesn’t remember any University of Kentucky fans in his family (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

Sutton, a senior forward and Louisville native played his high school ball at Dupont Manual, just down the street from UofL. “This game was huge,” said Sutton who averages nine points and eight rebounds as a starter for the third ranked Cards.

“My parents were UofL fans (growing up). There were not many UK fans in my family. I always wanted UofL to win. As a UofL player, that means a hundred times more ”

Sutton is 0-2 against the Wildcats and hopes this season the Cardinals (11-1) can turn the tables on their in state rivals. “I watched the game every time, every year,” said Sutton.

One of Sutton’s favorite memories is Edgar Sosa’s game winning shot from 25 feet in 2009, giving UofL a 79-76 win at Freedom Hall.  “It came almost from half court,” said Sutton. He believes Louisville will have to be aggressive even though they are playing at Rupp Arena, a place in which it is difficult for any team to win, let alone a rival.

“When you play on the road you have to play smart,” said Suttton. “We have to play without fouling. I think we can do that tomorrow.”

Sutton said that if Louisville is to win they have to follow several rules. “We have  to be aggressive, disciplined. We have to go out there and use our experience to our advantage.”

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Chris Mack is taking nothing for granted, knowing Rupp Arena will be a hostile atmosphere (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

Kentucky (8-3) comes into the game on a two-game losing streak. It has a quality win over Michigan State and loses to Evansville, Utah and fifth ranked Ohio State.

“They are the most athletic team we’ve played,” said Louisville coach Chris Mack. “They can make plays on and off the ball. They are extremely impressive. They strike in transition. They turn you over. They obviously have a history of blocking shots. They are extremely quick and how they punk teams on the glass is impressive.”

Kentucky has had a tough time with its perimeter shooting. The Wildcats are shooting 27 percent from three point range. That doesn’t matter to Mack.

“We’re going to try and contest shots, whether your a 50 percent three point shooter or a 25 percent shooter. Defensively we want to keep the ball in front   us. That’s a big, big challenge against Kentucky.”

It’s always a challenge when Louisville plays Kentucky, and vice versa … for players, coaches and fans at both ends of the spectrum. 

More than just a game.

Ed Peak

Ed Peak has covered UofL sports since 1973, as a student reporter, as a correspondent for the Courier-Journal, a freelancer for the Associated Press and United Press International, as well as ScoreCard, Fox Sports and CBS radio.