Louisville men’s basketball lost 57-47 to Division II Lenoir-Rhyne on Sunday in coach Kenny Payne’s debut at the helm of the Cardinals program.
- Jae’Lynn Withers led Louisville with 20 points and 10 rebounds. No one else on the team scored in double figures as the Cardinals shot 29.2 percent from the field.
- Lenoir-Rhyne outscored Louisville 31-19 in the second half.
- The Cardinals had 16 losses, giving up 15 of them, compared to Lenoir-Rhyne’s eight.
Louisville will play an exhibition game against Chaminade, another DII school, on Thursday before opening the regular season against Bellarmine November 9.
Louisville announced in March he signed Payne on a six-year deal through the 2027-28 season. A forward for Louisville from 1985 to 1989, Payne previously was an assistant coach with the New York Knicks, Kentucky and Oregon.
He replaces Chris Mack, whose tenure ended in January after three-plus seasons. Louisville went 13-19 last season, ending the year with a loss in the ACC Tournament on March 9.
Payne most recently spent two seasons as an assistant with the Knicks after 10 years on John Calipari’s staff at Kentucky, including six as an assistant head coach. He was an assistant on the Great Britain team that won the national championship in 2012.
What they say
Before answering questions in his postgame press conference, Payne said the loss would help the team move on from problems that arose before he was hired.
“We needed it. We needed that cry. We needed this loss because something happened to this program before I got here that hasn’t been healed yet. And I’m trying to get them to get out of it, fight through it, get better — not as a team first, but as individuals,” Payne said. “And then we can talk about being a good team.”
“Until you overcome your own obstacles, you can’t worry about the team. You can not worry about the opponent. It’s a life lesson: if I’m depressed, how am I going to worry about the guys I’m with on the battlefield? I’m depressed. If I’m hurting, if I don’t have confidence, how can I worry about anyone but myself? This is what we fight for. And we learned a valuable lesson.”
(Photo: Jim Dedman/USA Today)