Louisville hit 14 of 25 three-pointers on its way to an 81-72 win over old rival Memphis Saturday afternoon in the Gotham Classic at Madison Square Garden.
Quentin Snider led four Cardinals in double figures, scoring 19 points on 6 of 8 shooting, including 3 of 4 from beyond the arc. V.J. King played likely his best game as a Card to date, scoring 17 points and dishing out four assists. Deng Adel (15 points) and Ray Spalding (12 points, 8 rebounds) also delivered standout performances.
Quick thoughts here:
—There were a couple of awkward stretches, but this was the best Louisville has moved the ball this season. Eighteen assists on 28 made shots accurately reflects that. The defense had some rough patches and the defensive rebounding is still an issue, but this felt like a solid step forward for U of L on offense.
—The thing that really stood out to me today was the composure Louisville played with for most of the afternoon. Too many times this year guys have been overly eager to take challenged shots or go 1 on 2 when they get out on the break. Today, everyone let things come to them. The result was a really crisp offensive performance.
—Ray Spalding is quietly piecing together the type of season we were all hoping he’d have. He’s mixing it up more inside and is finally a viable offensive threat from multiple spots on the court.
—Again, this was the best we’ve seen V.J. in a Cardinal uniform. He finally seems to not be guessing out there any more. He’s attacking when he has an opening, but also letting offensive sets come to him when there isn’t. That’s a huge development for Louisville’s chances of having a successful season.
—Louisville being one of the best free-throw shooting teams in the country continues to be awesome. The task now is not being one of the worst teams in the country when it comes to getting to the line.
—Memphis is bad, but whatever. The Tigers still have athletes, and playing anyone in a noon game at Madison Square Garden can wind up being a rough afternoon if your team doesn’t approach the game with the right mindset. Louisville was up to the challenge on Saturday, and that’s encouraging.
—Ryan McMahon’s stat line isn’t going to accurately reflect just how much of a positive impact he had on this game. His three steals were huge, but he was also the first guy who really came in and improved the flow of Louisville’s offense. After his first stretch, the Cardinals seemed to settle down and get into the game.
—Quentin is absolutely back.
—One win away from Gotham Classic immortality.
—Louisville now has the most recent win in its series with rivals Kentucky, Memphis, Cincinnati, Western Kentucky and Marquette. Not bad.
—Memphis State forever.
Here’s your final box score: