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I rated the University of Louisville as the top college basketball team in the country in a preseason column. After facing the Cardinals, Aaron Carter may be inclined to agree.
Carter, a Perry Central graduate, and his Indiana State teammates took on U of L at Freedom Hall Saturday and saw the Cardinals build leads of 15-2, 38-9 and 50-17 (at halftime) before winning 83-43.
“It would have been nice to compete better,” said Carter.
He said the Cardinals’ “size and athleticism” gave the Sycamores problems. “And they play pretty good defense.
“I don’t think any (Missouri) Valley team will be as good as Louisville.”
The taller, higher leaping Cardinals blocked 11 shots in the game, including a baseline drive by Carter.
Carter took only two other shots in his 25 minutes of playing time, both from three-point range, and missed them.
But he grabbed three rebounds, had two assists and made one steal.
ISU fell to 0-6 with Saturday’s loss, which was the Sycamores’ first game of a round-robin tourney, the Marques Maybin Classic.
They scored their first win of the season Sunday, beating Lamar 68-66 in their second game of the tourney as Carter scored 15 points.
They lost to Ohio 62-50 Monday but Carter scored 20 points, including hitting 6 of 9 three-point shots.
A 6-foot-4 sophomore, he has started every game at shooting guard for the Sycamores this season. He is the first Perry Countian to start a game for an NCAA Division I team since Tell City graduate Bryan Taylor played his last game for the University of Evansville in 1977.
Carter has also played a little at point guard (Harry Marshall, the Sycamores’ point guard and leading scorer last year is academically ineligible this semester but will be back for the Missouri Valley Conference opener) and small forward.
Carter is second on the team in scoring at 11.6 points per game and leads the team in free-throw shooting at 85.2 percent. He is hitting 41.2 percent from three-point range.
After Saturday’s game he said, “I contributed a lot the first four games but I haven’t done much the last two games.”
He is still confident the Sycamores can turn their season around, though, with “a little more attention to detail and some hard work.”
Louisville Coach Rick Pitino said after Saturday’s game: “We played a tremendous first half. Indiana State is a better basketball team than that. They played DePaul close (a game in which Carter scored 19 points) and played Arkansas State down to the wire.”
Though Indiana State hasstruggled so far, Carter said he hasn’t second-guessed his decision to go there.
“I like the guys I’m playing with and I like the coaching staff.” he said.