Since one of my traditional monikers is Chuck the Reiterator — OK, I just made it up for my purposes here — allow me to share what I’ve shared often before.
I love when the Cards play early.
Noon tipoff. Noon kickoff. First semi-final. First Regional final.
Let’s get it on.
Soooooo, I loved the 10:00 am tip from Baha Mar.
Which I suppose is the earliest commencement of a Cards football or basketball game since, oh, the Lee Corso Breakfast game. Against Memphis State, maybe. Unless there’s one I’ve forgotten along the way, a distinct possibility.
Annnnnnnnnnnnd, by High Noon, the suddenly, delightfully surprising University of Louisville Cardinals came from behind (twice) to best the Terrapins from Maryland.
I mean really, how danged cool is that?
* * * * *
For its second improbable W in a row, the Cards shooting, to use the technical vernacular, sucked.
From the beach, and over by that Devil Slide, 4/14. 28.6%.
U of L gave it away 17 times, to the Terps’ 13. Giving Mark Turgeon’s team a 17-16 advantage in Points Off Of.
Buuuuuut, riddle me these stats, Batman?
U of L doubled up +1 Maryland on the boards. 51-26.
Including these dumbfounding numbers, which surely seem a typo to any Card fan who was in the Yum! for those initial four “efforts.”
Offensive Rebounds: Louisville 17, Maryland 2.
Resulting in a +13 advantage in Second Chance Points, 16-3. That margin was 14 nil after the initial 20:00.
So, again, let’s salute Mike Pegues, and that players only team meeting. The victory was won because of simple effort. Starting to do the dirty work it takes if a team wants to contend.
How fulfilling was it to see the whole team jumping up and down with joy and satisfaction after the final buzzer? Way cool.
These two victories are Building Blocks ++.
* * * * *
The Cards’ ace marksman Noah Locke again had an off outing. With an especially slow start. 1/5 for only 3 points in the opening half.
But, shooters shoot and the kid does not suffer lack of confidence. His consecutive treys on the Cardinals’ 2d and 3d possessions after intermission, helped the Cards stay steady early on in the 2d, holding on to its advantage.
Locke also helped U of L climb from the quick sand with a fade away jumper with 6:54 to go. Which was the Cards’ first tally in 6:44. During which malaise, Maryland ran off 13 straight, after U of L took the lead 42-34 on a Roosevelt Wheeler score.
The middle of the second period was, as it is said, all Terrapins. But that Locke deuce was followed by a Malik Williams steal, leading to a Matt Cross triple. 47 all.
U of L took back the lead at 5:03, 49-47 on a Jarrod West layup. Which sway was not relinquished, because a Dre Davis steal led to a West threeball, after which Louisville’s indispensable leader completed a personal 7 in a row with another layin.
Four of four key FTs, a couple by Williams, a tandem by Cross, solid D play, especially by Davis, who took a charge at 58-53, helped the Cardinals survive.
Because they overcame an absolutely horrible, static empty possession after Dre took that charge, and survived endemic inbound issues.
(I despise U of L’s inbounds plays. Hate, hate ‘em.)
* * * * *
Malik Williams is steadying up. It appears he’s beginning to overcome leg issues.
He led Cardinal scoring with 13, including 6/6 at the line, and rebounding with 12.
Jae’Lyn Withers snared 11.
West had 6 assists, only a single giveaway.
* * * * *
Louisville stands 5-1.
I’ll take it.
Next: Sparty. Wednesday in East Lansing.
— c d kaplan