Kenny Payne looks down the bench for answers but comes up empty (Mike DeZarn photo).

With nine games left in the University of Louisville basketball team’s 2022-23 basketball season this writer have reached some conclusions. Wins and losses really don’t matter. What matters is having fun. This team needs happiness. Go ahead. Shoot threes, rebound play defense. Get steals.

UofL did had some fun for about six minutes as it mounted a comeback only to lose to Florida State, 81-78, Saturday before a loud and exuberant crowd of 12, 966 fans at the KFC Yum! Center. The last 10 minutes of the game were fun. The crowd kept urging this team on.Florida State led by as much as 17, but the Cards would not roll over.

The Cards missed three shots in the closing seconds that would have sent the game into overtime. El Ellis missed two chances and Mike James missed a three-point attempt. No one surprised but at least there was some momentary doubt about a 10th straight loss.

“I didn’t see any quit in this (Louisville) team,” said Florida State Coach Leonard Hamilton. “I thought they stuck to their game plan. We were fortunate to come away with a win. You look them in the eye and they don’t flinch.”

It was the Seminoles’ second win over the Cards this season. Back in early December the Seminoles beat the Cardinals 73-51. “I know it’s hard to believe but this team is 70 percent better,” said Louisville coach Kenny Payne.

“We are a different team from the first game,” said Ellis. “Everybody has grown up. We just keep fighting. Mike got a good look. But It’s frustrating.”
Lands felt defense got the team back in the game. “We fought, we came out and played great defense in the stretch.”

Is that a twinkle in El Ellis’ eyes or the look of frustration? (Mike DeZarn photo).
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By 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.