Coach Chris Mack reacted as good coaches with legit national contenders are wont to do, even after the Cardinals distanced themselves from visiting Youngstown State from the get go in a 78-55 beatdown.
OK, not quite from the absolute beginning, but close enough.
We’ll get to that in a moment. First to Mack’s opening foray.
Before taking questions in his post game presser, he advised that he was more than a little disappointed. Because the Cardinals gave up 19 offensive rebounds, 11 in the opening half. Which board work resulted in an almost unbelievable disparity in 2d chance points.
The Penguins offensive windexing resulted in their tally of 25 after errant shots. Compared to but 4 by the Cards. -21 in 2d chance scores is not a good thing.
What that stat also says to me is this, since the Cards won by 23: The University of Louisville has a legitimate chance of living up to preseason hype. U of L took care of biz in any other number of ways, such that the statistical anomaly, bothersome as it is, didn’t matter.
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Here comes the first mention of the season of The Professor’s favorite homily.
You look good when you makes shots.
So here’s how the tilt commenced. With a Jordan Nwora turnover, trying to force the ball on a called play to Steven Enoch in the post on the first possession.
The next 11 possessions went like this: Ryan McMahon trey. Deuce by Darius Perry. Hook for two by Enoch. Nwora driving to the hoop for two. Followed by a Nwora threeball and another Enoch two from close in. Then the Cardinal’s newly lithe and active center for 2 more on an inbounds play. Dwayne Sutton drained a FT. Then Enoch found the bucket again for two more of his 17 points.
At which juncture, U of L had twined the first 8 FG attempts without a miss.
Perry made Louisville’s ninth FG in a row without a miss. Nwora then canned two more in succession.
The first errant shot by the Cards came with 12:52 left before halftime. The Cardinals were up 16, 24-8.
Even though the visitors dropped a three at the halftime buzzer to pull within a deceptive 8 at the break, thanks to +16 2d chance points.
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Louisville started the 2d half with another flurry, scoring on four of its first five possessions.
The Cards, whose defense was never shutdown but better after the break, were never really threatened by the Horizon League visitors.
It should be more of a ballgame Wednesday when Indiana State’s Sycamores come to the Yum!.
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When speaking of Darius Perry’s marvelous afternoon, Chris Mack was only partially correct.
He called the PG’s effort, “the best game he’s played since I’ve been coach.”
True dat, but it’s also the best game he’s played as a Louisville Cardinal. As in his whole career.
12 assists. 1 turnover.
Allow me to repeat, so that astounding ratio can sink in. 12 assists. 1 turnover.
Plus he scored 10 points on 4/7 shooting, grabbed five rebounds, drew 5 fouls and had a steal. Also he shutdown the Penguin’s Darius, Quisenberry, holding their leading scorer to 3/13 inaccuracy from the field.
Oh yeah, DP’s Sportscenter moment. He went behind the back on a fastbreak delivery to Nwora, to increase the Cardinals’ advantage to 72-52.
A word about the Cardinals’ other PG. In sixteen minutes of action, Fresh Kimble delivered 5 dimes without a turnover. He was 0/6 from the field, but as Mack pointed out, he’s going to score eventually, once he’s got more experience within the system.
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Steven Enoch looks like a totally different baller this season. And it’s not just his haircut.
He’s thinner, quicker, more intuitive, and obviously more confidant. 17 points and a career high 14 boards.
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Because I tend to be most critical about Jordan Nwora, I’m going to refrain from picking nits of his performance Sunday. His play, more consistent and intense than last season, still leaves a lot to be desired.
I’ll leave it at that for the time being. His 21 points led U of L in scoring.
-- Seedy K