LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Richmond slowed down the game. The
Spiders milked the shot clock. They held the ball, played great
defense and blocked one Louisville shot after another.
The only thing the Spiders didn't do is stop Cardinals guard
Dean scored 20 of his season-high 30 points in the second half,
and No. 5 Louisville rallied from a 10-point deficit to beat
Richmond 53-45 on Monday night at the Colonial Classic.
"I knew we had to fight through it, I knew I had to make
something happen, a great defensive stop or something on offense,"
The senior ended up doing a little bit of both.
"I've been through the wars, I know what adversity is like,"
Dean said. "I don't yell at the guys, I just try to lead by
Louisville (4-0) avoided the upset behind Dean and a defense
that held the Spiders (4-3) to 19 points and seven field goals over
the final 20 minutes. The Cardinals also forced 18 turnovers to
overcome 13 of their own, including seven by Dean.
"I think we showed tremendous guts and heart down the
stretch," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "Getting behind
against Richmond was the worst possible scenario on a basketball
court. You get behind on a team like that, and it's an uphill
battle all the way with the treadmill level on 10."
With his teammates either unwilling or unable to provide any
help, Dean made sure Louisville's ascension to the top five in the
AP poll wouldn't be short-lived.
After the Spiders took a 32-22 lead with just over 15 minutes
remaining, Dean got rolling. He scored 11 of Louisville's next 12
points to pull the team to 36-34. Minutes later, he banked in a
3-pointer from the top of the key to give the Cardinals their first
lead of the game with 7:20 to go.
"The second half we got gritty and got down to it," Dean said.
"I just wanted to get us going, give us a spark."
The Spiders managed to tie it at 41, but Louisville gained the
lead for good on a putback by Chad Millard and a free throw by
Brandon Jenkins that put the Cardinals up 44-41. Dean then hit his
seventh and final 3-pointer of the game to make it 47-41.
"We couldn't contain Dean," Richmond coach Chris Mooney said.
"A couple of times we played very good defense on him, and he made
really hard shots."
Kevin Steenberge led Richmond with 15 points, four rebounds and
five blocks but scored just one basket in the second half. Jermaine
Brucknor added 10 points for the Spiders.
For most of the night, Richmond's methodical attack frustrated
the Cardinals. Running their Princeton offense to perfection, the
Spiders built a nine-point first-half lead by running 25 to 30
seconds off the shot clock before someone -- usually Steenberge --
would step up and knock down a 3.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, struggled.
A night after being chastised by Pitino for relying solely on
outside shots during a lackluster 67-55 win over Arkansas State,
Louisville attacked the basket against the Spiders, but the results
were no different.
"We had wide-open looks that didn't go in," Pitino said.
"When we penetrated, we didn't finish inside."
Louisville shot 33 percent in the first half and went long
stretches without a field goal. Harassed and harried by the
Spiders, Dean had his shot blocked by Steenberge three times and
missed 10 of 14 shots.
"I think our defense threw them for a loop," Steenberge said.
"I think they were a little surprised to see me on Taquan Dean. I
know I was."
With the 6-foot-11 Steenberge suffocating the 6-3 Dean,
Louisville's offense looked out of sync.
"I'd like to shake that guy's hand," Dean said. "I've never
had that many shots blocked before."
Louisville center David Padgett, who had played solidly in his
first two games with the Cardinals after transferring from Kansas,
played 13 ineffective minutes in the first half, recording one
rebound and failing to get off a shot. Padgett finished with two
points and three rebounds.
Outside of Dean, the other eight players who saw action for the
Cardinals combined for 23 points on 8-of-22 shooting, with no
player scoring more than seven points.
"Last year we had five or six guys in double figures, we don't
have that right now," Pitino said. "We have so much room for
improvement, it's scary."