Our Louisville Cardinals rolled into Chicago tonight and had a scuffle on their hands but were able to overcome sluggish play to beat the Blue Demons 79 to 58. The Cardinals have now won nine straight against DePaul since both teams joined the Big East and ten straight overall. With the win tonight Louisville now leads the overall series 38 to 21.
The Cards didn’t make the trip up to Chicago until today and they may have been feeling the effects of that not being able to adjust to game-day mode. This was a very sloppy ballgame by both teams and there were 36 turnovers between the two teams with Louisville accounting for 18 of them. It’s the second highest turnover game for Louisville this season. But the Cards were able to overcome the ugliness in the second half as they turned up the defensive pressure and took better care of the ball. They completely dominated the Blue Demons scoring 42 points in the paint. Cards really had a decent offensive performance tonight with 5 guys in double-digit scoring albeit against the worst defense in the Big East. They are averaging 78.6 points over the last six games so the production on the offensive end of the floor has picked up through the season. This is a game where you take the good with the bad and move on with the rest of the season happy you got a win. I think at this point the players and the fans of college basketball are ready for the post season.
Russ led the team in scoring tonight with 17 points reaching the 1000 mark and became the 65th player in Louisville’s history to reach that achievement. Louisville is now two behind North Carolina for the most one thousand point scorers in the NCAA. Peyton was the second leading scorer with 16 points to go along with a very impressive stat line as he also had 4 Rebounds, 6 assist, 2 steals and 1 blocked shot. He did a much better job of penetrating the lane tonight and he actually got to the free-throw line for the first time in 9 games. His play tonight reminded me of the post season Peyton Siva of last year. Tonight he moved into 52nd all-time in scoring passing Tony Kimbro and now has 1097 points in his career. He also only needs 8 more steals after tonight to be Louisville’s all-time leader in that category. Gorgui had 10 points tonight and for the second game straight looked much more efficient on the offensive end of the floor. He had some offensive moves that looked like NBA material tonight and perhaps that was a good thing because the Chicago Bulls scouts were in the building checking him out. Chane Behanan had 10 points tonight but his biggest moment of the game was a monster dunk he had in the first half. Chane is chasing Cardinal legend Darrell Griffith for the most dunks in a season and I think after tonight he needs just 13 more to reach that goal. He is one of the best dunkers in the history of Louisville basketball but tonight he had the best dunk of his career and perhaps the best dunk of the college season.
The Louisville bench did a great job tonight as well scoring 22 points. And we are still seeing a consistent substitution pattern of Hancock, Ware, and Harrell. I look for Van Treese to start to get more minutes as the season winds down. Was really shocked that Wayne Blackshear didn’t have a break-out game tonight in front of the home crowd. His mother was in the stands but Wayne was quite for the most part and only scored 4 points. I keep hoping that this kid will live up to his hype but so far he is just and average performer for his career. He may be that guy that really starts to stand out during his senior season or he may never be what we thought he would. Stay tuned!
Our Cards appear to have hit their stride and have won 7 of their last eight games including four straight. Things start to get a lot tougher now that the soft spot in the schedule has passed. The Cards will travel to Syracuse for a high noon battle with the Orangemen on Saturday. The Cards will be looking to avenge an earlier home loss this season to Cuse.