For the second consecutive game the Hatters (2-5) fell victim to outstanding shooting by its opponent. Host and 18th ranked Louisville (5-1) shot 62% (29-for-47) from the field and defeated Stetson 80-48 in Freedom Hall.
Senior A.J. Smith (Cocoa, Fla.) led the Hatters with 18 points on 5-for-10 shooting. Freshman Ridge Graham (Stuart, Fla.) also scored in double-figures with 13, while senior Brandon Williams (Miami, Fla.) equaled his season-high of eight points after hitting 2-of-4 from 3-point range. Graham was the team leader in rebounds with six.
"I thought Graham was the best he has played and Brandon played as well as he has all season", said Stetson head coach Derek Waugh. "Everyone who came in tonight contributed, but we didn't have any great games."
Olivier Dupiton (Montreal, Canada) and Liam McInerney (Victoria, Australia) came off the bench to score two points each, and Phil Bassan (Memphis, Tenn.) played two minutes late picking up one point and two rebounds.
As a team the Hatters shot 35% (17-for-48) and were outrebounded 34-22, yet put together a season-high 10 steals to help keep them in the game early.
Smith opened the game with a 3-pointer at 19:24 to give Stetson its only lead of the game. The Hatters kept the game close early on and were within three points at 12:01 when Smith hit one of two free throws. A cold spell and a Cardinal spurt over the next four and a half minutes increased the deficit to 14 points. After playing close to even for the remainder of the half, Louisville went into the break up 37-21.
Even though Louisville had over 18,000 screaming fans in the stands, the Hatters were happy with their sizable contingent of backers who came out to cheer them on. Stetson president Wendy Libby was among them after making the trip from DeLand to show her support. Back-to-back field goals by Smith and Graham, and a free throw by Tyshawn Patterson (Orlando, Fla.) to open the second half gave those supporters cause for hope as Stetson crept back to within 13 points at 39-26.
That was as close as the visitors would come on the night. The Cardinals took off and progressively increased its lead to 32 points when the final horn sounded.
"It was great to see all our fans and a lot of former players come out to support us tonight", said Waugh.
Next up for the Hatters is a return home to play Miami on December 16 at 7:00 p.m. Hatters fans can see the action in person at the Edmunds Center or online via Hatter Vision. Murray Miller and Harry Arnold will be on hand to call all the action.