Chris Mack’s message to his team following last Friday’s home loss to DePaul was fewer three-pointers, more paint touches, more trips to the free-throw line.
That message appeared to have been received Tuesday night, as Louisville scored 44 points in the paint and also got to the free-throw line 23 times in an 86-60 rout of overmatched Southeastern Louisiana. The Cardinals converted on 19 of those free-throw attempts, good for a season-best 82.6 percent shooting from the stripe.
Malik Williams led the way by notching his eighth career double-double and his third of the season by scoring 15 points and pulling down a game-high 10 rebounds. He added a pair of steals for good measure. Matt Cross (13) and the reserve backcourt duo of El Ellis (13) and Mason Faulkner (12) joined Williams as double figure scorers.
For the game, Louisville shot 51.7 percent from the field and an improved (albeit, not sparkling) 35.0 percent from three (7-of-20).
Defensively, U of L forced SLU into 16 turnovers and limited them to 32.8 percent shooting from the field. The Lions went just 6-of-33 (18.8 percent) from three.
While this effort certainly doesn’t erase the bad vibes created by the DePaul loss, it was a nice response to the latest helping of adversity this team has dealt with. It’s a good thing too, because there are no more Southeastern Louisianas remaining on the schedule. The Cards are at Western Kentucky on Saturday, at Kentucky a week from tomorrow, and then it’s full-on ACC time for the remainder of the regular season.
Go time has arrived.