—The game may have been tougher than expected, but Jeff Walz was still thrilled that his squad found a way to stay undefeated.
The Cards were out of sorts. They had lost a 16-point lead. Virginia Tech had gathered itself at halftime and pulled back to take a 3-point lead. Louisville had 10 turnovers in the third quarter, with just 12 points. And it had been outshot 26-5 at the free-throw line.
But Louisville scored 5 quick points to open the fourth quarter, and after falling behind again late, got back-to-back baskets and a game-sealing steal from Dana Evans in the final two minutes to win 71-67, improving to 9-0.
“It was a great win for us,” Walz said. “Anytime you can get road wins, you’ve got to be excited about it. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but I said it before we came out here and played. With the amount of time we had off, and trying to play 3 quick games just to get some games under our belt, we’ve still got a lot of work to do. Our players know that. I know that. And we’re going to have to do that. We’ll take the win, be excited about it, and now it’s time to continue to get better.”
It helps to have the best player on the court, and Evans proved to be that on Thursday. She took the game over for Louisville when it had to have baskets, and made the key defensive play after giving the Cardinals a 4-point lead with less than a minute left. She then stole the ball at midcourt with 12 seconds left, looked up at the clock as she dribbled, and drained 7 more seconds off the clock before Virginia Tech could catch her to foul.
—Louisville is a 6-seed in the latest mock NCAA tournament bracket from The Athletic.
—The latest episode of The Crunch Zone podcast is here.
—Carlik Jones continues to prove to the rest of the country that he belongs at the highest level of college basketball.
—After 15 state championships in 21 seasons, Trinity football coach Bob Beatty is calling it a career. Would be shocked if anyone other than Brad Stevens received the first call from Dr. Rob Mullen.
—David Johnson’s soaring stock has him as the No. 12 pick in Sam Vecenie’s latest NBA mock draft for The Athletic.
12. Washington Wizards
David Johnson | 6-5 guard | 20 years old, sophomore | Louisville
Johnson is a big guard at 6-foot-5 with real versatility of role and vision. He can handle the lead guard role and carry an offense for stretches, or he can even play off ball as he often does next to Carlik Jones for Louisville. His ability to hit the cross-court kickout is real as a driver, and he’s constantly hunting for cutters or open 3-point shooters. He’s also an absolutely terrific defender on the ball who has the quickness to guard point guards and the length to harass them. The big reason why that’s the case is Johnson has drastically improved as a shooter. He’s hitting up over 45 percent from 3 thus far. And while I don’t think he’s quite at that level in terms of true talent level, Louisville’s coaching staff did rave to me in the offseason about his improvement in that regard. Basically, he looks like a kind of multi-positional backcourt option that would really work on both rebuilding teams and contenders, as he’s averaging over 14 points, six rebounds and four assists.
—South Carolina and Virginia Tech will play in the 2025 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.
—Louisville is No. 20 in Gary Parrish’s daily hoops rankings for CBS.
—Another bad ass victory highlight vid from the U of L video crew.
—Dana Evans was once again the star of the show for Louisville on Thursday.
—State of Louisville wonders if not taking another quarterback will come back to haunt the Cardinal football program.
—When Paul Rogers rocks the hand rub, you know the Cards just won a close one.
—Christian Dawkins, the key figure in the FBI investigation into grassroots basketball, has now co-founded an agency that has already negotiated $145 million in NBA contracts.
—Shoutout to the last game in Freedom Hall poster making it on a national sitcom (the show is set in Louisville).
—St. X QB product Desmond Ridder is returning to Cincinnati for his senior season.
—Doug Wilham has been named the new permanent PA announcer for women’s basketball games at the KFC Yum Center.
—Tommy Lasorda passed away today at the age of 93. RIP.
—Should Notre Dame join the ACC in football permanently? It’s not going to happen, but here’s a pretty compelling argument.
—The latest WDRB Sports Pod talks with Scott Davenport and Dylan Penn about starting conference play in the Atlantic Sun.
—The Knights will play their first Atlantic Sun game tonight when they host perennial league powerhouse Lipscomb at Freedom Hall. The two teams will then play again on Saturday night. The back-to-back, same opponent challenge will define the rest of the season for BU, writes Eric Crawford.
—It’s been too long since we’ve been privy to a Cardinal football game in the snow.
—Former Louisville LB Thurman Geathers is transferring to Arkansas State.
—Regardless of whether it’s fair or not, Lamar Jackson is going to earn or lose the benefit of the doubt based on how he plays in this year’s NFL Playoffs.
—Jaire Alexander has been named Second Team All-Pro.
—And finally, happy Friday, everyone. You’ve earned the right to get into whatever the hell you want to this evening.