-The biggest news from this game has to be the return of both Malik Williams and David Johnson. Louisville was already good without them, but they go to another level with these guys healthy and in the rotation. It will be interesting to see how that rotation will be, however. I think it’s pretty clear with Malik. He and Steven Enoch will rotate for one another. I wouldn’t mind seeing them both on the court at the same time every now and then. Where will David Johnson fit? Darius Perry has played very well at point guard and Fresh Kimble is a natural point guard. Maybe he plays off of the ball? Or he handles the point and moves Darius off the ball? We’ll see.
-Dwayne Sutton…BEAST! He grabbed a career high 15 rebounds and seven of them were offensive. That’s just ridiculous. Offensive rebounding is all about effort and how bad you want to go get the ball. That’s all you need to know about Sutton. He may get a spot on this post every game, and that’s totally fine with me. This kind of game deserves recognition. Oh, and the nine points and four assists weren’t bad either.
-Ryan McMahon, still on fire. He was 5-8 from three and is now 18-30 on the season from behind the arc. The guy is much more than a shooter as you will see in the film review. His defense and passing can not be ignored. And one more thing he is doing well is setting screens. Why is this a big deal? Guys that defend him this season are likely told to stick to him and not help off at all. So when McMahon sets a screen, his man isn’t helping. Meaning when he is setting screens near the basket, someone is going to be open for an easy bucket. You will see what I am talking about.
-Joran Nwora assist/turnover watch continues. This game he had one assist and one turnover, bringing his season totals to five assists and eight turnovers.
-More on Nwora. I thought he played really well in this one. He was an efficient 11-19 from the field for a season high 28 points and he has been really good in transition. I will point out in the film review some good things he did on defense as well, which is what I was very critical of with him last season. Any small improvements will not go unnoticed from me. He also had nine rebounds.
-It wasn’t the best game for Steven Enoch. I don’t think the guys made a big effort to get him the ball early in the game, and this seemed to be addressed at halftime, as he did get the ball on several consecutive possessions in the second half. He still had a solid six rebounds and one big block that led to a transition three for Ryan McMahon, so it wasn’t all a bad game. He just had a clear size advantage in the post and I think he (as well as most big men) will be more active and engaged in other areas of the game if he is involved early.
-Darius Perry had nine assists and zero turnovers. That has to be recognized here. Add in Fresh Kimble’s five assists and one turnover and you have 14 assists and one turnover from those two. I know who the opponent was, but that’s still encouraging.
-The Cards had 22 assists on 29 made baskets, so they continue to share the ball well.
-Not much to report from the freshmen in this game, other than David Johnson making his debut with two big dunks. Samuell Williamson struggled from the field. Aidan Igiehon saw his minutes dip to just six in this game. The starters played a majority of this one as it was much closer than expected until a big run in the second half put it away.
-I didn’t get to watch the game live, and when I saw the score in the first half, I just assumed the Cards came out flat and not really motivated for the game. After watching it, I don’t think that was the case. It seemed like they settled on offense and that SC Upstate just played really well and hit some tough shots. Could it have been better? Of course. But at least it wasn’t effort. That was my concern just from looking at the score. Shots won’t always fall. It won’t be perfect. But they stayed the course and eventually “boomed” them and it ended up being a convincing win. Sometimes you see highly ranked teams let those smaller schools hang around and they end up losing at home. You hate to see that.
Doesn’t start out pretty (or complicated). Nobody boxes out here. Don’t take the little things for granted. The things we teach kids to do still gets forgotten at this level. pic.twitter.com/unfQSEddxa— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 21, 2019
Some things are worth repeating on here, and Ryan McMahon’s defense has been just that. His solid man to man defense here leads to a transition dunk for the Cards. He is not just an offensive player this year. pic.twitter.com/m9h5ok2ytj— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 21, 2019
More McMahon. He comes off of a screen and SC Upstate switches. The defender on Sutton gets lazy and Ryan hits Sutton with a quick pass for the dunk. Also, Nwora brings his defender away from the basket and out of help position. pic.twitter.com/3w0cDn1JHy— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 21, 2019
We see this set a lot from Louisville. First option is that backscreen for Sutton and he would get an easy dunk or layup. This time we see the second option, which is Williamson flashing to the ball after he sets the screen. He misses, but it’s good execution. pic.twitter.com/eL5FoDQ3dJ— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 21, 2019
Another set play we see often. This is about timing. Williamson comes to the ball side and brings his man with him, leaving no help under the basket. Nwora’s man doesn’t help because he can’t leave him. Sutton sets a solid screen. Very good pass from McMahon. pic.twitter.com/TJViJ3MPaW— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 21, 2019
Something small, but not for me when it comes to watching Jordan Nwora’s growth on defense. He sees that Samuell Williamson gets caught on a screen, so he stays at the top and points Williamson to the switch. Good leadership and recognition. pic.twitter.com/IEUHTR4PMM— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 21, 2019
Another thing that may not mean much to you, but it does to me. You can hear Nwora telling Ryan to “stay high” on the wing. As a perimeter defender, it’s huge to have someone behind you telling you where to be. Makes the game easier. When Nwora does these things, I notice. pic.twitter.com/cfYXnblhuv— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 21, 2019
The play that changed the game to me started with defense. Steven Enoch had a frustrating offensive night, but he makes the huge block here that leads to a McMahon three and the route was on. pic.twitter.com/7pzJKDCkC7— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 21, 2019
Same set play as earlier, but ends with a David Johnson dunk (nice first points). Williamson takes his man away from the basket. It’s usually a layup to Kimble, but this time it can be an alley-oop. Again, we need a solid screen for it to even work and Nwora’s man to not help. pic.twitter.com/cCH7vlUkxb— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 21, 2019
Now look at SC Upstate run something similar. What’s the difference? Nwora’s man stays on the block, so Nwora is under the basket. Nothing is open underneath. Not sure they wanted the same exact play UofL runs, but if so, it won’t work if they don’t clear out a side. pic.twitter.com/4dVT4ErmfW— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 21, 2019
Another good set play about timing. Malik’s man gets caught watching the ball and gets backscreened by McMahon, whose man has clearly been told to stay on him no matter what. That makes Ryan’s screens important because his man will not help at all. pic.twitter.com/CmFQphLvLo— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 21, 2019
Let’s end on another good screen by McMahon. Why not? This time it gets Igiehon an open dunk on the inbounds play. Again, when a shooter sets solid screens and his man can’t help, it should open up whoever he is screening for. Huge asset to have in Ryan’s game so far. pic.twitter.com/xyldxwwVTw— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) November 21, 2019