Corrected 11/12 9:58 am
After eleven minutes of play, Coach Rick Pitino was, to say the least, not a happy camper.
(I'm being gentle. This is a family friendly blog.)
He was furious.
At that juncture, the Purple Aces, shorter by 3'-5" per man, were matching the taller Cards carom for carom off the glass at both ends.
As quick or quicker than the speedy Cards, Evansville had beaten U of L down court twice in a row for fast break gimmes.
When Mangok Mathiang was Teed up after a slam for hanging on the rim/ slapping the glass/ or some infraction spotted only by the zebra with the whistle, The Rick ran onto the court apoplectic.
But when Jaylon Brown drained treys on consecutive possessions to push the visitors ahead 26-20, Pitino had had enough. I could feel the heat coming from his ears in the corner auxiliary press box.
Whatever the admonitions to his charges were, and what emphatic words the coach may have used to deliver them during that thirty seconds, the message was obviously heard.
The Purple Aces were held to but a single wafer thin point the rest of the half, a FT by the aforesaid Brown at the 1:17 mark.
Meanwhile the Cards ran off 23 before the fans headed to the bars for cocktail fill up time.
It looked like this. A Jaylen Johnson put back. A Tony Hicks drive for a deuce. A Donovan Mitchell charity toss. Followed by a splendid defensive sequence, which included a block by V.J. King, and another by Johnson. Followed by a Donovan Mitchell steal.
Then after the entry on the hardwood by the guy who somehow seems present during such U of L outbursts, David Levitch, the Cards took the lead on a Mitchell J.
And were, as we say here in Derbyplace, off to the races.
King drilled 5 of 6 FTs. Anas Mahmoud drained a running hook across the lane, after a steal by Levitch. After an offensive board by Mitchell, JJ hit a no no no yes threeball. A Mahmoud block and defensive rebound led to a Mitchell three.
Then, with the clock running down, after a Mahmoud steal, the Cards had the rock and ran a modified Sosa, with a couple of passes, then the ball in Mitchell's hands to make something happen. Which he did with a drive and dish to Deng Adel, who was fouled when firing from beyond the arc.
The Cardinals best FT shooter hit all three.
The 23-1 run over the last nine minutes gave Louisville an insurmountable 43-27 lead at the break. (The run eventually increased to 50-13, when the score was 70-39 with 5:23 to play.
Which 31 point advantage was the final margin, 78-47.
* * * * *
In the second stanza, the Cards, still a long term question mark underneath, did what significantly taller teams are supposed to do. Dominated the paint.
Especially Johnson and Mahmoud.
JJ had nine points and eight rebounds in the 1st. He remained dogged after the break with ten more tallies and six more retrievals. It was, I believe, his first double double as a Cardinal.
Anas scored eight with a couple rebounds after halftime. For the tilt, he had 10 and 5 with 3 blocks and a steal.
On a night when Adel was only 1/8 from the field (and proved again how very much he needs to improve his ball handling), and Quentin Snider missed his only FG attempt, Donovan Mitchell was the other main scoring threat.
DM finished with 15 points, 5 boards, 3 assists and 4 steals.
As I said, Louisville did eventually impose its will underneath. On the boards, it ended up with a 23 rebound advantage, 52-29. The Cards scored one less point in the paint (46) than Evansville with 47 scored in toto.
But, frankly, as a whole, the game was, as my mother would say, nothing to write home about.
The Cardinals hit only 56% at the charity stripe, 15/27. They drained but 3 of 15 long balls. And had only 15 assists on 30 made FGs, while turning it over 12 times. Not a lustrous assist/turnover ratio, to say the least.
* * * * *
Anecdotal observation: A salon in town could fashion a decent profit, just tending to the big hair of the Ladybird squad, which seems to grow in numbers geometrically by the season.
Next up: William & Mary. Monday @ 7:00 in the Yum!.
(The W&M Tribe is one of the five school hoops teams which have been around since the NCAA tourney began that have never danced. Along with Northwestern, Army, The Citadel, and St. Francis (NY).)
-- Seedy K