The outcome of tonight's matchup against Jacksonville State was predictably lopsided, but that didn't make it any less enjoyable to watch. We've heard all along that this is a different Louisville team with a plethora of new faces, but they didn't play like it tonight as they opened up the KFC Yum! Center for business for the first time this season.
Honestly, this victory looked like a fairly trademarked effort. All of the common components were there, from suffocating defense creating turnovers for easy points to Montrezl Harrell dunking approximately 100 times to a fluid offense that found open shooters more often than not. Obviously, Jacksonville State is not on the level of Minnesota or other teams from power conferences, but to see the Cards come out at home and dominate without any hesitation was certainly encouraging. Here's your box score:
|Jacksonville St Gamecocks - 39|
|Jamal Hunter, C||3-5||0-0||0-0||1||3||4||0||1||0||0||5||6|
|D.J. Felder, F||3-10||0-4||1-2||3||3||6||1||1||0||2||3||7|
|Undra Mitchem, G||0-2||0-2||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||0|
|Darion Rackley, G||2-11||2-7||5-8||0||2||2||1||1||0||4||2||11|
|JaQuail Townser, G||3-6||2-4||0-2||0||2||2||5||0||0||3||1||8|
|Deitrich Cole, F||1-2||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||1||0||1||2|
|Jeremy Watson, F||0-1||0-1||0-0||1||0||1||0||1||0||1||0||0|
|Randall Smith, G||1-2||0-1||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2|
|Avery Moore, G||1-7||1-5||0-0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||2||3|
|Joe Kuligoski, G||0-1||0-1||0-0||2||4||6||0||0||0||0||3||0|
|Malcolm Drumwright, G||0-1||0-1||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||1||0|
|Dontay Jackson, G||0-1||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||2||1||0||3||3||0|
|Gabriel Dos Santos, G||0-1||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||2||0||0||1||0||0|
|Louisville Cardinals - 88|
|Montrezl Harrell, F||6-12||0-3||3-5||4||3||7||1||0||0||0||1||15|
|Chinanu Onuaku, F||5-5||0-0||2-3||8||2||10||1||2||1||2||2||12|
|Wayne Blackshear, G||4-10||2-8||2-3||3||6||9||5||0||1||1||2||12|
|Terry Rozier, G||5-7||1-2||2-4||2||2||4||1||2||1||3||1||13|
|Chris Jones, G||4-13||2-4||0-0||4||2||6||5||5||0||2||2||10|
|Akoy Agau, F||0-1||0-1||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|Mangok Mathiang, F||4-7||0-0||1-3||7||3||10||0||0||0||0||0||9|
|Matz Stockman, F||1-2||0-0||0-0||1||0||1||0||1||0||0||1||2|
|Jaylen Johnson, F||0-2||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Anas Mahmoud, F||1-1||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||1||0||0||2|
|Trent Gilbert, G||0-2||0-2||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||2||0|
|Anton Gill, G||4-5||0-1||0-1||0||6||6||1||1||0||0||2||8|
|David Levitch, G||0-1||0-1||2-4||0||1||1||1||1||0||2||0||2|
|Quentin Snider, G||0-3||0-2||0-2||0||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Dillon Avare, G||1-3||0-2||1-2||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||2||3|
Finally, here are some rapid-fire observations from the evening in downtown Louisville:
- Montrezl Harrell is obviously an established force around the basket, but the long-range game is coming along. More importantly, it's looking like he's mostly picking the right spots to shoot those longer jumpers. Presumably, the percentage from around the arc will go up as he gets more comfortable.
- At one point in the first half, Mangok Mathiang hit a free throw line jumper that made Bob Valvano mention the great Gorgui Dieng. It did look excitingly similar.
- Wayne Blackshear was better in just about every facet tonight, which was good to see. Again, it was Jacksonville State, but he attacked with more confidence nonetheless and we saw what that could produce. Looking at you, 360-spin-in-the-lane Wayne. You too, spot-up-three Wayne.
- Speaking of that defensive pressure, the two-man pressure from Chris Jones and Terry Rozier looked like something we've seen a million times before when guys like Russ Smith and Peyton Siva graced Denny Crum Court. It also created a lot of points.
- The boom happened early. Then it happened again. And again. And again.
- Having Jaylen Johnson, Montrezl and Chinanu on the floor at the same time is a cool idea.
- Another note on Rozier: I thought it was interesting when Bobby V talked a bit on the telecast about how the legendary Oscar Robertson used to have a knack for creating better shots on his own based on what the defense gives him. He termed it as "turning 10-foot shots into eight-foot shots". Rozier certainly has a similar knack, though nobody is exactly comparing him to the Big O at this point.
- First half Dillon Avare? First half Dillon Avare. That first free throw was as smooth as they get.
- Here's to hoping that Anas Mahmoud and Matz Stockman sharing the floor is some foreshadowing of something that will one day resemble a two-man wall in the paint.
- David Levitch is now a perfect 20-0 in games in which he sees the floor.
- Louisville is now 14-0 under Rick Pitino in home-openers. The win over the Gamecocks was number 697 for Coach P.
It certainly appears that the heavily-favored Cardinals have already grabbed the Global Sports Showcase by the horns. The Marshall Thundering Herd are next on Friday night downtown at the Yum! Center.