Well, I was asking for a solid follow up performance after a lackluster game Saturday against Jackson State and the Cards did just that. Seven Cardinals scored in double figures, led by Preston Knowles’ 14 points. The game was fairly close early, but Louisville put together a solid run to end the first half. The Cards then exploded out of the gates early in the second half, and it was over.
There was a lot to be pleased with after a rout like this.
First, I loved how under control the Cards played. Against Jackson State, Louisville appeared to force the action and make plays that just weren’t there. Tonight, they attacked on the break when it was there. If it wasn’t, they set up their offense
Even when the Cards didn’t get it out on the break and had to play in the halfcourt, they still attacked on the offensive end. The cuts were crisp, they moved the ball via the pass and not the dribble, and they made the extra pass for the great shot, as opposed to the decent shot.
Another thing the Cards did extremely well was their activity on the defensive end, particularly with deflections. Rick Pitino wants to get 40 deflections and tonight, the Cards got 46. Louisville also forced the Mocs to commit 25 turnovers, which allowed the Cards to get out on the fastbreak in which they converted 22 out of 33 chances according to Rick Pitino.
Finally, how about that free throw shooting by Louisville? They went to the line 19 times and connected on 17 of them. I realize the game was not close, but making 90% of their free throw attempts is a positive sign and hopefully one that will give this team confidence in that area when they do play a tight game.
On the individual end, I liked seeing Kyle Kuric assert himself offensively. To be fair, he didn’t do it early. You could almost see Rick Pitino pleading with him to look for his shot. Finally, as the first half came to a close, Kuric buried a three from the right baseline that resulted in a Pitino fist pump. Kyle finished with 13 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 assists.
Mike Marra continued to impress. He hit 3-7 from deep and finished with 11 points, but I was impressed, again, with his passing. With his 5 assists tonight, Marra now has 14 assists after 3 games. I don’t think it can be understated how important Mike Marra’s development might just turn out to be for this team.
Also, I thought Peyton Siva had his best game of the year. His stats were pretty good with 13 points and 5 assists, but I liked how controlled he was. Against Butler and early on against Jackson State, Peyton was trying to make Sportscenter’s top 10 plays, but tonight, Peyton made the conventional play and the team benefited.
In total, a great effort by the Cards and one that has to please every Louisville fan. The Cards return to action this Saturday as they welcome in the Marshall Thundering Herd. We’ll have our preview of that contest later this week.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.