-There was a lot to take away from this game for me. What I will start with is the defense again. The Cards just suffocated Pittsburgh in this one and held them to 46 points. In their previous five games, Pitt was averaging 67 points per game.
-Louisville held Pitt without a point in the last 5:35 of the first half. With 9:16 left in the game, Pittsburgh had 42 points, so they scored only four the rest of the way. Putting those two ends of halves together, that’s four points in 14:51 of game action.
-As I said on this last post, Louisville’s goal for defensive “kills” in a game is seven. I counted eight for this game. It’s really not complicated. You meet your goal on that and you are putting yourself in position to win the game. A “kill” is three stops in a row on defense.
-At the under eight-minute timeout, the Cards were up 49-42. “Joker and the Thief” was then played and the score the rest of the way was 15-4. Just sayin.
-Another big story in this was that all eight guys in the main rotation made a three pointer, and Jordan Nwora was the last to make one. Talk about having weapons and versatility! At any point, any player in Louisville’s top eight can step out and hit a three. We know that Steven Enoch and Malik Williams can also score in the post. Then you have Nwora and Dwayne Sutton that can catch and drive or catch and shoot. Pick your poison. This team can beat you in a variety of ways on offense. But if you add in the defense they are starting to play, well, I think you know the possibilities for this team.
-The Cards had 17 assists on 23 made field goals. Very good.
-Speaking of assists, Jordan Nwora had two of them and only one turnover! It’s the first game this season that he had more assists than turnovers. His season total is now 10 assists and 20 turnovers.
-I was confused as to why Pitt came out of their zone in the first half. When they went to their 3-2, it was 27-17 Louisville. Here is what the Cards did in the possessions against that zone: Perry turnover, Perry turnover, Kimble turnover, Nwora missed layup, Enoch missed shot, Nwora made three. That made the score 30-21. So while Pitt only cut into the lead by one point, Louisville scored on just one of six possessions. I would have probably stayed in it for another possession to see what happened, but they decided not to. Worked for us.
-Darius Perry and Fresh Kimble each had three turnovers. Neither stood out as playing particularly well this game. It’s going to happen. Guys will have off nights, you just prefer if it’s not two guys at the same position, especially when that position is point guard. I am not overly concerned about this after one game.
-Steven Enoch struggled in this one. He only played 19 minutes, but some of that can be attributed to Malik Williams playing really well. Enoch gave up six quick points to start the second half and came out just two and a half minutes into the half. And think about this for having some tough luck. He is in position to get a good offensive rebound and gets called for a phantom foul. No idea what happened there. But then he catches a big alley-oop on an out of bounds play and all of the energy from that was instantly deflated with Jordan Nwora on the ground and the Yum Center silent. Sorry, Steven. This night just wasn’t meant for you to have big plays. Maybe Tuesday.
-Malik was awesome in this one. He had 13 points and 11 rebounds and never backed down against the toughest team (from a physical standpoint) that Louisville has played this season. He is always in the mix on the glass to keep plays alive on offense or pull down defensive boards. His defense on screens has been very good, and he is obviously a vocal leader on this team. It was very nice to see him have this kind of game and get back into the flow of things.
-Shoutout to Samuell Williamson for stepping in there and taking a charge. The freshman continues to do the little things that make an impact while he is in there. He also got an offensive rebound that ultimately led to his three-pointer in the corner in the first half.
-In their first week this season as the number one team in the country, Louisville definitely impressed and did what they were supposed to do to prove their worthy of the top ranking. Let’s carry this momentum into MSG against Texas Tech on Tuesday!
First play of the game. Enoch screens for McMahon, who gets all kinds of attention after the screen. Pass to Perry and the quick delivery for the slam. Nwora’s man can’t leave him too much so he isn’t really in help position. pic.twitter.com/qAA0JF2en4— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 8, 2019
Right after the slam by Enoch, he helps on a screen and doesn’t get back to his man. This slows Perry down to get back to the ball handler, so both are “guarding” the same guy. Easy bucket for Pitt. pic.twitter.com/V1C30JNehL— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 8, 2019
Set play that we see a lot. McMahon anticipates that Perry will be open when his man gets screened. Either way, Darius has to finish the play and can’t break off of it. There’s also too much room between he and Enoch on the screen. He has to run right off of Enoch and doesn’t. pic.twitter.com/EUwJgpWs3n— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 8, 2019
There are a few of these today, a missed box out. Jordan puts his arm out, but that’s not good enough against a physical team (or anyone). Can’t run to the rim, you have to run to the man. pic.twitter.com/SqlUK2YAaG— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 8, 2019
I don’t care if he is double teamed. If Enoch has the ball inside the no charge arc, I want him taking it up. And if he is going to pass, the double came from the opposite wing, so McMahon is open. I’d like to see him be patient on this one and see what’s there. pic.twitter.com/Jtrz6i7zcO— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 8, 2019
Great job of slipping the screen by Malik. He fakes like he will screen, his man starts to hedge the ball handler, and Malik slips right to the basket. He also gives them a nice pump fake for the easy score. pic.twitter.com/6OLhcjlryT— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 8, 2019
This is only here because I couldn’t believe it happened and I would have totally understood a tech being issued against Louisville. Steven Enoch just runs onto the floor during play. That’s it. Nothing else to add. pic.twitter.com/1uWOP565CW— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 8, 2019
His minutes have dipped a little, but Samuell Williamson makes the most of his time for sure. Big offensive rebound and he finds the corner to spot up. McMahon finds him and he finishes the play that he kept alive. He drifts down as McMahon drives so he is always in his sight. pic.twitter.com/EFA2RpKUxn— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 8, 2019
A couple more box out misses coming next. This one is Nwora. He tries to just jump instead of locating his man coming in from the corner. pic.twitter.com/y0exV077Zm— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 8, 2019
And this one belongs to Enoch. He boxes out initially, but leaves his man once the ball hits the rim. Has to finish the play. pic.twitter.com/MUnzPWtHOt— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 8, 2019
B-E-A-utiful (sorry) play by McMahon to get open. He uses a Malik screen to cut and then uses him again to get back to the three point line. Love this. pic.twitter.com/W3Cmjm5zji— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 8, 2019
Great extra passes from McMahon and then Nwora lead to an open shot. Sutton does what he does and gets the offensive board and Nwora is rewarded with the open three. Very unselfish play to start this. pic.twitter.com/mdx8HO4aDL— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 8, 2019
Whoever guards McMahon can not leave him, so his screens are big because there usually won’t be help. That happens here and Enoch gets the alley-oop on the inbounds play before the Yum Center went silent. pic.twitter.com/xbqwCxksf3— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 8, 2019
This is such a little thing, but I had to point it out. Jordan Nwora sees a screen coming and gets over it to stay with his man. Last year I really think he takes the screen and just switches. Looks like nothing, but I see the growth there. pic.twitter.com/UEJrapNXJ9— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 8, 2019
Want to see a nail going into a coffin? Here you go. McMahon buries the three, and then the Cards get their 7th “kill” with this steal and Nwora lets us know that shoulder is alright. pic.twitter.com/Yv89ncDvIc— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 8, 2019
Finishing up here. Remember what I said happens when McMahon sets a screen? No help, guy gets open. Perfection. pic.twitter.com/kUuNp963BP— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 8, 2019