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After the Buzzer: Pitt

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Quick Hitters

-Another win on the road in the ACC? Yes, I will gladly take it. Again, they are rarely perfect, but any win in this league is a big one. I’m pretty sure Duke would have taken a win on the road against Clemson. This one felt weird during regulation. I thought the Cards were playing decent, and then I would look up and we are down by five or six. It just felt like a physical team that was fired up in front of their home crowd was playing pretty well, not necessarily that Louisville was playing bad.

-Well hello, David Johnson! Just go ahead and get your season high in minutes played (20), points (11), assists (4), and free throws attempted and made (4-6). In the last meeting against Pittsburgh, Johnson played one minute and had no stats. I’d say this was an improvement. Some of the passes he made were things you just can’t teach, and he is showing that he can get to the rim against just about anybody.

-Longer than a quick hitter, but…On the flip side of that, Darius Perry played just 12 minutes and had three points (first three of the game for UofL), zero rebounds, one assist, and two turnovers. Here is my thought process on where we are with Darius…he’s just inconsistent. He will have a good game and we say, “if he continues like that, this team can go to another level” and then you get games like this. There isn’t really a middle ground. It’s really good or really bad.

I know some people don’t like Fresh Kimble’s shot selection, but he is a steady hand in the game if needed. He had six assists and one turnover in this game. During this three-game winning streak, Fresh has 10 assists and two turnovers. Perry has five assists and four turnovers. We are seeing what David Johnson can do and you can only think that his minutes will increase. Where does Perry fit? He and McMahon splitting time at the two guard? Or does Williamson play there? I don’t know. I’m not anti-Perry. I just want whatever works. And inconsistency doesn’t work when you have other guys at the position doing their job.

Maybe it’s just a matchup thing and Perry will shine in the games that Ryan can’t. Anyways, I’ll move on.

-Dwayne Sutton is apparently our closer now. Just give it to him when we need a huge three and the man will deliver. He also had nine rebounds to go with his 13 points.

-Jordan Nwora had good and bad moments. He hit some really big shots, so his 14 points were not quiet at all. He also had six rebounds. As far as assists and turnovers, he had one assist and three turnovers, one of which I remember being bad because he basically dribbled into a double or triple team in the paint when there were open shooters. He did force some shots early, kind of felt like he was hunting the shot instead of letting it find him. But like I said, he made a few big ones in the second half.

-Was it a good over the back call on Pitt? Of course not, but it was nice to be on the good side of a bad call. It seems like that never happens for us. Pitt fans can be upset about that, but I’d be more upset with giving up a 7-point lead at home with 2:20 left in regulation. Just me.

-So we are all wanting to see who will be that “alpha dog” on this team. The guy to get in someone’s face if needed or just be the vocal leader. Could that guy be…Malik Williams? I know, I know. I never would have thought I would type that a few games ago, but hear me out. As physical as Pittsburgh is, Malik has done nothing short of matching their toughness in both games this season. In the first meeting, he had 13 points and 11 rebounds. In this one, nine points, eight rebounds, and one headband. He got a double-technical with Audiese Toney. He doesn’t seem afraid to be in the middle of things mixing it up, whether that’s bumping someone casually during a dead ball or walking through an opposing team huddle. Little things like that just to bother someone. Will he be the beast that someone like Montrezl was? Probably not. But is he the guy to get under the skin of opposing players to rile them up and get our own guys going in the process? Maybe, just maybe.

-I thought Ryan McMahon played outstanding defense in this one. He was glued to Ryan Murphy, who has hit the most threes on the season for Pitt. I show one in the film review, but that was just one example of many I could have used. He chased him everywhere and made it nearly impossible to get a clean look after Murphy started the game 2-2 from behind the arc.

-Louisville was down by seven on the road with 2:20 left and found a way to fight back and force overtime and get out of there with a win. That speaks volumes to me. It was a total team effort, and everyone contributed in some way. David Johnson got to the rim. Fresh made the right passes. Malik had a big and-one. Sutton hit the huge three.

Having to fight back like that when it’s just your guys in a hostile environment is the type of thing that could springboard this team. Now will they go into Duke and get a win? We’ll see. What I do know is that this team will have won at least two games on a three-game road trip in the ACC. Not too shabby.

As always, thanks for reading. Go Cards!

Film Review: