During the commercial stoppage with 3:49 left in the 1st, the six screens of The World’s Most Spectacular Scoreboard showed footage from ‘83 at Stokely in Knoxville.
There were several clips of Lancaster Gordon against Arkansas and UK. Caster — he was never known as Flash to his teammates — was Regional MVP if memory serves.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking of him lately, while watching Noah Locke struggle with shooting woes. Gordon went through a similar slump during his sweet run as a Cardinal during the glory years.
Denny Crum — HoF, 2 time national champion coach Cool Hand Luke — told everybody who was worried about Caster’s game to calm down. Gordon can shoot, he admonished, and his shots will start falling again.
And so it came to pass.
As it will with Noah Locke. He’s a shooter. Plus, we must remember, he netted a major trey late against DePaul, to pull U of L within three, but the Cards couldn’t close.
So, it was good to hear similar coachtalk as Crum from Chris Mack after the Cardinals shredded the hapless Lions from the Southland, 86-60.
I believe in Noah Locke I know he’s struggling right now. I know that he is as a shooter, I see him every day in practice. It is going to take one or two to go down and that’s going to happen for us.
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There’s not a lot to be learned from last night’s affair.
U of L fell behind 8-10, went on a 8-0 run, and essentially never looked back.
Up 11 at intermission, Louisville opened the 2d with 10 zed blitz. Two FTs by Matt Cross, a Cross triple, a Dre Davis drive & dunk, and a Malik Williams’ Old Fashioned. (That would be a deuce And 1.)
Here are a few moments I liked:
A nifty Jae’Lyn Withers’ feed for a Cross layup at 54-34.
A sweet Withers’ dish to Sam Williamson on a Hi/Low at 56-36.
Which you might have figured out came on back to back Cardinal possessions.
Withers, probably the most enigmatic of several Cardinal conundrums, played with more focus, energy, and savvy. He was more into the game than he has been recently. During the first defensive possession he was on the court, he dove onto the floor fighting for a loose ball. He passed up triples to try to drive to the bucket.
Louisville’s possession that followed those two was also heartening. Mason Faulkner, who provided spark with 12 points and 3 assists, drove the lane drawing the attention of both Lion guards, which left Ell Ellis open behind the arc. Faulkner flipped it back to his runnin’ podner, who netted the trey.
Jarrod West found Roosevelt Wheeler for a how-you-draw-it-up give and go slam for a 30 point advantage at 73-43. A few moments later, the same duo hooked up. Wheeler rolled to the hoop, and West delivered. Roosevelt couldn’t totally control the catch, but was deft enough to tip it in for two.
It is calming that Mack seems to now realize the future as backup in the middle is spelled Roosevelt Wheeler and Sidney Curry.
JJ Traynor saw a bit of action, other than mop up time.
The ball moved more quickly.
The defense was more intense, “confrontational” to use the coach’s term.
The Cardinals were 19/23 at the line. 83% works, regardless of the foe. Louisville’s 30/58 FG line was the result of better decision making, but also porous suspect Lions’ D.
Which makes matadorian defending makes the 12/14 assist/ turnover ratio a concern.
Though a W over SE La. is the kind that really doesn’t help a team’s NET at all, it was probably a good tuneup for what’s ahead.
* * * * *
Odds and ends:
Interim AD Josh Heird was introduced during a media timeout, to respectful applause from the noticeably small gathering for a Tuesday night tilt with an early 6:00 pm tip.
(I might add I knew nothing about Heird, until perusing his bio upon his elevation. The fellow has a legit resumé, including time under Tom Jurich’s tutelage and a short stint at twice national champion Villanova.)
As for the oddest moment of the evening, which always felt a bit weird because of the emptiness of the gym, lack of tension in the game, etc, it’s a toss up.
On the one hand, there’s the State Police t-shirt toss.
On the other there was the odor of reefer in a restroom in the concourse under the stands. It was like being in Cosmo’s Headrest back in the day.
Next: Western Kentucky. Saturday afternoon.
— c d kaplan