Created: 12/04/2013 9:36 PM
(AP) LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Kareem Richardson took on a lot with Missouri-Kansas City as his first head coaching job. The Kangaroos were coming off an 8-24 season and moving to a new league, a lot of transition for the program and the former Louisville assistant.
And judging from the 90-62 pasting UMKC took Wednesday night from the seventh-ranked Cardinals, Richardson has his work cut out for him.
"It was certainly a challenge for us," said Richardson, who hugged and shook hands with Louisville players following the game and renewed several acquaintances as he left the KFC Yum! Center floor.
"I was really pleased with the guys’ effort. That was one of the main things we wanted to do."
The Kangaroos lost to the Cardinals 99-47 last season and were thrashed by then-No. 17 Iowa State 110-51 on Nov. 25. UKMC is now 0-19 against ranked teams.
Louisville, playing its second game since losing to North Carolina, led 26-9 midway through the first half and was up 43-22 before UKMC scored the final five points before the break.
The Kangaroos (1-6) got no closer in losing their third in a row. Louisville’s full court pressure continued to wear them down.
"I know how teams felt last year," said Richardson, an assistant last season during the Cardinals’ run to the national championship.
"It seemed like they had seven or eight guys (on the floor). They fly around and create a lot of havoc."
Senior forward Nelson Kirksey and freshman guard Martez Harrison led UKMC with 14 points each. Senior center Fred Chatman who was averaging 9.8 points and 5.8 rebounds had four points and four rebounds.
UKMC shot percent 46 percent from the field (23 of 50) and were out-rebounded 49-29. The Kangaroos had 20 turnovers leading to 29 Louisville points.
"We gave the best effort we could," Kirksey said. "They beat us on the boards. We just couldn’t outrebound them. I think had we rebounded better offensively and defensively we’d have stuck with them until the end. That was probably the most important thing."
Montrezl Harrell’s 14 points led Louisville (7-1). Chane Behanan came off the bench to score 11 points and grab 11 rebounds. Chris Jones, Luke Hancock and Russ Smith each added 10 points off the bench.
The Cardinals made 43 percent from the field, including 10 of 31 from 3-point range (32 percent).
"We got them down to a low percentage in 3-pointers," Kirksey said. "We’re going to learn and transfer everything that we got from this game to the next."
The Kangaroos may have lost senior starting guard Aaron Washington for a while. Richardson said he "twisted his (right) knee pretty good" going for a loose ball and left the game with 2:57 left in the first half. He walked toward the locker room at halftime on crutches with the knee wrapped in ice.
The Kangaroos were down 43-27 at that point, shooting a decent 46 percent from the field (11 of 24) and only four points shy of the Cardinals in the paint (18-14). That was the only area in which UMKC stayed close to the defending champions, who took a plodding approach in pulling away from a team they beat by 52 points here nearly a year ago.