It might ultimately prove too difficult to record the best start in school history, but Louisville would appear to have a good chance of moving a step closer Friday.
Before a tough Big East opener and a daunting non-conference finale to close the year, the fourth-ranked Cardinals get one more tuneup when they host Western Kentucky.
Louisville (11-0) needs to win its next three games to surpass a program-best 13-0 start that was accomplished in three different seasons, most recently 1974-75. The Cardinals, though, will host No. 16 Georgetown on Wednesday to start Big East play before traveling to No. 3 Kentucky next Saturday.
They probably won't be complacent heading into that stretch or even into Friday's game after needing a late surge to get past the College of Charleston 69-62 on Tuesday.
Kyle Kuric led Louisville with 17 points, raising his team-best average to 13.1, and hit the go-ahead basket with 3:12 to play. Gorgui Dieng extended his double-double streak to four games with 14 points and 12 rebounds while blocking five shots.
"We just showed tremendous fortitude down the stretch to win. When you give up 12 (3-pointers), you don't normally win," coach Rick Pitino said. "I think (our players) have great heart, great character. Then we have been getting great execution."
The Cardinals haven't had trouble lately with their execution against Western Kentucky (4-8). They've cracked 100 points in both meetings with the Hilltoppers over the past two seasons, including a 114-82 road victory last December.
Peyton Siva had a career-high 29 points in that game and hit four of the 16 3-pointers made by Louisville, which posted its highest-scoring performance since 1999.
In this matchup, Western Kentucky could have a more difficult time in front of its own basket. While Louisville is limiting opponents to 56.6 points per game and 35.6 percent shooting, the Hilltoppers are among the worst shooting teams in the nation (37.8 percent) and averaging 60.0 points.
They shot 36.7 percent and missed 17 of 24 attempts from 3-point range in a 76-63 loss to Furman on Saturday.
Freshman guard Derrick Gordon had a team-best 12 points and is the only Western Kentucky player averaging more than seven (10.7 ppg).
Louisville has six players scoring more than 9.0 per game. Siva's average dropped to 9.6 after being held to one point Tuesday as he failed to make a field-goal attempt for the third time this season. However, he's among the Big East leaders at 6.7 assists per game and is two shy of 300 for his career.
Siva now looks to help Louisville extend a 19-game home winning streak, its longest since a 22-game run Jan. 8, 1982-Jan. 25, 1984. Adding one more win to the current streak will match the seventh-longest in program history.
Western Kentucky has a 39-35 series lead but has lost 19 of 22 to Louisville.
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