In a game where the ball kept seeming to bounce the other way, Louisville finally got the break it needed to squeak out a 71-70 win over Seton Hall Friday evening at the KFC Yum Center.
After a pair of clutch free-throws by true freshman J.J. Traynor pushed U of L’s lead to three, Quinn Slazinski was whistled for a highly questionable foul on a three-point attempt by Seton Hall’s Takal Molson with just 0.7 seconds to play. After calmly burying the first two freebies, Molson’s third attempt did a Darius Washington dance and found nothing but iron.
Guess who’s in the middle... pic.twitter.com/WaHi9IjS2F— Louisville Basketball (@LouisvilleMBB) November 27, 2020
Carlik Jones was once again stellar for Chris Mack’s team, leading Louisville in scoring (18), rebounding (11) and assists (6). Jae’Lyn Withers (11), D’Andre Davis (11) and Slazinski (10) also hit double figures in scoring for the Cardinals.
As sweet as the victory was, U of L may have also been dealt a blow it could ill-afford to take.
Sophomore forward Samuell Williamson left the game after suffering a right toe injury on a dunk attempt early in the second half. When he returned from the locker room, that right foot was in a walking boot.
As much as Sam’s injury hurts and as ugly as things got down the stretch at times, there’s a lot to be happy about here. For starters, Louisville’s final six points came on a really tough drive and score by Withers, a putback (of his own miss) by Traynor, and then JJ’s two clutch free-throws minutes later. Those are two freshmen who a few months ago you wouldn’t have guessed would be on the floor for these types of moments, let alone being the ones with the ball in their hands. And we haven’t even talked about Davis, who was probably the most impressive freshman of all on Friday.
I get that Seton Hall was rusty, I get that Louisville led a comfortable lead slip away, but this is still a win to feel good about. Things are rough for patches early on with this team until we start getting some guys back. Until that happens, every win this squad can scrap out against a quality opponent should be celebrated.
What a great way to head into the weekend.