Louisville put together easily its most complete performance of the season as it rolled to a surprisingly easy 75-54 rout of Western Kentucky Tuesday night at the KFC Yum Center.
Chris Mack got monster performances from the trio of David Johnson, Carlik Jones and D’Andre Davis, who combined to score all but 19 of their team’s points. While Johnson had an enormous first half, it was the true freshman Davis who was the biggest star of the evening, finishing with a game-high 21 points on 7-of-9 from the field.
On the defensive side, Louisville’s youthful and undersized frontcourt did a tremendous job on Western Kentucky’s star center, Charles Bassey. The likely 2021 first round draft pick finished with a solid 13 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks, but was harassed into six turnovers and needed 11 shot attempts to reach his point total. Former Kentucky Mr. Basketball Taveion Hollingsworth led the Hilltoppers with 19 points.
I will be completely honest and say that I did not see this performance coming at all. I thought Louisville would probably lose this game, and that if they won, it would be a scratch and claw down to the wire type victory. It was not.
Outside of the game’s first eight minutes or so, the Cardinals were always the more aggressive team, always the more in control team, and always the team doing a better job of executing their game plan.
While I’m admitting to being completely wrong about things, I had zero clue Dre Davis had even the slightest chance of being as good as he is right out of the gate for this team. The hype around Jae’Lyn Withers was legit, JJ Traynor has been better than advertised, and the Jones/Johnson backcourt has been (for the most part) what we hoped it’d be. But it’s Davis’ ability right now that, more so than anything else, is allowing this team to thrive despite being down four players, including three likely starters.
I didn’t know what to expect from these first seven days of Louisville basketball, but they have exceeded pretty much every expectation I had, especially after Sam Williamson’s injury.
Next up on Friday is another extremely capable team with a star talent, and this time they’re led by a really, really good coach.
For now, we enjoy nine straight over Western Kentucky.