By Beau Kilpatrick—
The No. 12 Louisville Cardinals came into their Monday night game against William & Mary with a record of 100-14 inside the YUM! Center. Rick Pitino reached win No. 101 with a 91-58 victory over The Tribe of W&M.
The last time these two teams faced each other was in 1954 when Louisville won by 28 points. W&M has three straight seasons of winning at least 20 games. The Tribe blew out Bridgewater College by 52 points in their season opener.
Deng Adel had a career night for the Cards. He led U of L in scoring at the half with 12 points and added four more to his total in the second. He had a career high of 16 points, five assist, and four steals. Adel was perfect from the free-throw line, making 7-7.
V.J. King had a great offensive night. He led all scorers with 17 points. He was 3-3 from beyond the three-point arch and made 7-11 from the field. Pitino is confident that his freshman forward will be a great player as he gains experience.
“I think [King’s] very aggressive offensively. He’s got a great first step. He’s getting much more confident because of the thousands of shots he’s taking. He’s just a really good basketball player,” said coach Pitino.
Mangok Mathiang dominated W&M defensively. He gathered 10 rebounds and forced five blocks. Mathiang struggled on his free throws, making only 1-6. Mathiang’s health has been an ongoing issue, but he looks healthy enough to compete with anybody in the ACC.
“I think basketball-wise [Mathiang’s] close to a hundred percent but I think conditioning-wise he’s not. He had ten rebounds tonight but he could’ve had 15-16 rebounds tonight,” Pitino said.
Jaylen Johnson is coming off of his best game as a Cardinal with 19 points, 14 rebounds, and three blocked shots against Evansville, but his start against W&M was sluggish. Johnson had only two points and three rebounds at the half. Johnson got the second half going with a huge one-handed ally-oop. He finished strong with a total of 13 points and nine rebounds.
Quentin Snider made four 3-pointers out of nine attempts and made a single free throw for a total of 13 points. This was Snider’s 21st career double-figure scoring game.
Donovan Mitchell set a career high with four blocked shots. He also scored nine points, collected four rebounds, and forced a single steal. Late in the second half, Mitchell forced a steal and used his breakaway speed to deliver a monster dunk that erupted the crowd at the YUM! Center.
Ray Spalding also had a pretty good night. Spalding shot 83 percent from the field, better than any other Cardinal’s FG percentage that played more than a minute. He shot 5-6 for 10 total points; he had four rebounds, one block and a single steal. Spalding also got his team pumped with an ally-oop from Snider. However, Pitino sent him to the bench toward the end of the game with four fouls.
The second half for the Cardinals showed much more intensity than the first. The first half showed glimpses of electricity, but the second half was a high-octane display on both sides of the ball. Coach Pitino clarified that his squad relies on working the opposition into second-half fatigue as their main strategy for winning.
“Guys are judging now on how you play on halftime scores and third quarter scores. That’s not the way the games are played. We rely on fatiguing our opponents. It’s a 40-minute game. We’re going to be down a lot at the 15-minute mark, we’ll be down a lot at halftime. But it’s not a halftime game” said Pitino.