Louisville hosts Jacksonville State in Gobal Sports Showcase

Nov 17, 2014 - 3:48 PM Louisville, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - Returning to the mainland to begin their 2014-15 home slate, the Louisville Cardinals welcome the Jacksonville State Gamecocks to the KFC Yum! Center on Monday evening as part of the Global Sports Showcase.

It had to be an emotional outing in the season opener for Louisville and Rick Pitino as they began their 2014-15 campaign in Puerto Rico, taking part in the Armed Forces Classic. In addition to those surroundings, the Cardinals were also taking on the Minnesota Golden Gophers, a team coached by another Pitino, Rick's son Richard. It was a spirited game, but one that Louisville won, 81-68.

James Green's Gamecocks weren't as fortunate in their season opener, as they dropped a 74-55 decision at Marshall on Friday. It was a disappointing start for Jacksonville State, which has struggled in the Ohio Valley Conference, including last year's 10-21 overall record (4-12 OVC).

This is the first-ever meeting between these two teams.

Jacksonville State has some weapons in terms of its overall arsenal this season, namely seniors Darion Rackley and D.J. Felder. Unfortunately, neither was very effective in the season opener against Marshall. The two combined to go just 3-of-14 from the floor 11 total points. Instead, it was senior Avery Moore that led the charge, scoring all 18 of his points from behind the arc (6-of-9) in just 17 minutes of action. Junior JaQuail Townser added 11 points to the cause, while sophomore Undra Mitchem tallied nine.

Rackley is the team's top returning scorer, averaging just over 13 points per game in 2013-14. Felder netted 8.3 ppg last year. Overall, this is a rather young team that will need role players to contribute on a regular basis, if JSU is to make a move up the OVC standings this season.

Louisville on the other hand, has a great mix of young talent and veteran leadership that could go a long way in its first season in the ACC. Pitino certainly caught a break when junior forward Montrezl Harrell decided to return to school instead of jumping ship to the NBA. Harrell is one of the top players in the nation and is poised for a huge season. he will be the go-yo- guy in the frontcourt, while guards Terry Rozier and Chris Jones will handle things in the backcourt.

That's exactly how it played out in the season opener against Minnesota, as Harrell was unstoppable, going 9-of-12 from the floor and 9-of-10 from the free-throw line to tally a game-high 30 points. Rozier had a strong game as well, posting 18 points to go along with six rebounds, four assists and four steals. Jones finished with 13 points, although he was just 4-of-13 shooting.

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