How do you follow up an emotional win at home against Michigan State? You go on the road for your first true road game and come out of it with a comeback win against a good Seton Hall team. The Cards trailed by nine with 13:52 left to play in this one, but a hustle play by two guys that didn’t play much sparked a comeback. You will see what I am talking about in the film review portion of this. Let’s knock out some quick hitters first.
-Talk about your balanced effort here when it comes to scoring. Dwayne Sutton led UofL with 12 points. Darius Perry, Jordan Nwora, and Ryan McMahon all had nine. Steven Enoch had eight. Christen Cunningham had seven. Everyone that played chipped in points. Sometimes you need “the guy” to take over and score 20-25 points for you, but some days you need this kind of balance.
-Speaking of Dwayne Sutton, I could not be more impressed with the strides he has made on offense. I viewed him as the hustle guy that would grab rebounds, keep plays alive with deflections, and take charges. Now he is hitting threes and his free throws? Oh, and he is still grabbing nine rebounds AND taking charges AND being the hustle guy? Excuse me while I move further to the front of the Dwayne Sutton bandwagon.
-Christen Cunningham hit some big shots in this one. He scored all seven of his points in a 3 ½ minute span with under eight minutes to play. And no one else for Louisville scored in that time. He made a layup to cut the deficit to three, then a jumper to cut it to three again, and finally a three pointer to tie the game with 4:24 left. Louisville would not trail again for the rest of the game. I said it before, but the poise and control that he plays with is just what this team needs. We know that Darius Perry can score, but sometimes he has a little Russdiculous in him, and sometimes you need a little more Quentin Snider when it comes to running the point. Control the game.
-Making the most of their minutes is exactly what V.J. King and Akoy Agau did. V.J. played 10 minutes. He had four points, three rebounds, one assist, and two steals. Agau played five minutes and had two points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block. I will continue to praise V.J. during his struggles as long as he contributes while he is in and we don’t see him sulking and being a bad teammate because things aren’t going his way right now.
-Did you know that Dick Vitale told Rick Pitino about Ryan McMahon? Did you know that Christi Mack is from Louisville? Did you know that Bill Murray is Luke Murray’s dad? The things you learn while watching a national broadcast.
-This was more than just one win on the schedule in my opinion. This team was down by nine in the second half in a true road game and had to fight their way back. Was it Rupp or Cameron Indoor? Not exactly, but it was not a neutral site. When you are on the road like that and need to come back, you have to lean on one another and come together as a team. They did that, and they continue to improve. Winning 70-65 at Seton Hall is good. Having to come back in the second half to do that is more impressive.
First play of the game. Steven Enoch hedges the screen, and Jordan Nwora steps over to help, as he should. But then Darius Perry needs to drop down and help Nwora. We didn’t “help the helper” here. pic.twitter.com/c9xtqPvo7l— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 2, 2018
I have pointed out when there is lack of communication, so here I will point out when there IS communication. Malik Williams and Jordan Nwora are on the same page here because they talk through the handoff, which shows that things are improving in that aspect. pic.twitter.com/3363vN2SC9— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 2, 2018
Steven Enoch hedges and his man slips the screen for what should be an easy basket. Dwayne Sutton gets over in help and takes the charge. Big play here. Also love the reaction from the bench. pic.twitter.com/L06bPCMDjY— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 2, 2018
Things that don’t show up in the box score: great defense and running the floor. Khwan Fore does both. Forces a bad shot and gets out on the break to deliver a pass for the dunk. The dunk makes the highlights, but the defense started the play. pic.twitter.com/yysobnW1H1— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 2, 2018
V.J. King and Akoy Agau played 15 minutes combined. But here they are diving on the floor for a loose ball. How big was this? Cards are down 9, McMahon hits a 3 here, and then another to cut it to 3. UofL never trailed by more than 5 the rest of the way. This hustle play was big. pic.twitter.com/X19KKVCKPA— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 2, 2018
Scouting report and listening to your coach! Chris Mack told the guys to go under the staggered screens. Christen Cunningham does exactly that here, twice actually, and Seton Hall forces a bad shot. That’s just attention to detail in a two point game when stops are crucial. pic.twitter.com/P1opp8zF27— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 2, 2018
And finally, the shot of the game. Christen Cunningham beats his man, Steven Enoch’s man helps. So then Ryan McMahon’s defender helps onto Enoch. Who is left open? Ryan McMahon. It all starts with Christen Cunningham making two guys guard one and forcing the defense to rotate. pic.twitter.com/GCBFKpb0rk— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 2, 2018