By Beau Kilpatrick—
The No. 14 Louisville Cardinals held off a late comeback rally by the Pittsburgh Panthers, posting an 80-85 win at the YUM! Center.
Pitt was fueled by the electric performance of their starting forward Jamel Artis who put up 43 points (that is over half of the Panthers’ total points) against Louisville’s No. 1 ranked defense in the ACC.
The Cardinals started off hot. They completely dominated the Panthers for the first 30 minutes of the game. At one point the Cardinals held a 26-point lead. The career-high night for Artis cut the Cardinals’ lead to only five by the end of the game. Nobody could guard Artis and it seemed that every time he shot the ball, you just knew it was going in. He made 15 shots from the field, including seven three-pointers and six free throws
Quentin Snider led all U of L scorers with 22 points, making seven field goals, including shooting 75 percent from three-point land. Three other Cardinals scored in double digits as well. Deng Adel had a decent night with 15 points. Donovon Mitchell scored 15 points and posted eight rebounds.
Ray Spalding also gathered eight rebounds to go with his 11 points; he could have scored 12 points but he air-balled a free throw. Anas Mahmoud did not put up impressive numbers, however, his efforts have consistently gotten better with each game and he is playing with channeled focus and intensity. Mahmoud, like Spalding, also air-balled a free throw. Mahmoud has become the defensive anchor in the middle and has turned into a shot-blocking machine.
Coach Pitino is known for producing teams with a suffocating defense and this year is no different. Louisville’s defense stuck to the Pitt Panthers like Velcro. They forced eight steals, blocked six shots, and out-rebounded Pitt by 15 more grabs. However, the bar has been raised to such an extreme level that Pitino is not impressed with the defensive efforts of his team even though they lead the ACC and the nation.
The Cardinals lead the NCAA in defense, according to the Ken Pomeroy College Ratings at http://kenpom.com/index.php?s=RankAdjDE.
The No. 14 Cardinals will host the No. 7 Duke Blue Devils at the YUM! Center this Saturday at noon. This is a crucial ACC matchup because Louisville can break the .500 mark in the conference which will help them gain bye-games when the conference tournament begins.
This game is equally important to Duke, as they are coming off of a conference loss to No. 9 Florida State and it would be devastating to the Blue Devils to lose two in a row and not play again for a week. The image of their team has been falling steadily into common hatred by the nation. This has a lot to do with the dirty play of Grayson Allen. Allen is a habitual “tripper” with major attitude problems. Allen was seen shoving an assistant coach for FSU in their loss Tuesday night. Ray Spalding knows all to well the dirty habits of Allen. Allen tripped Spalding during their game last year and I’m sure Ray remembers and may be a bit more aggressive towards Allen. Louisville fans, and the nation, will be dissecting every move that Allen makes and you can bet that his tantrums and tripping will not be tolerated in the ‘Ville.
Duke’s Grayson Allen trips Louisville’s Ray Spalding last season:
The No. 7 Duke Blue Devils vs. the No. 14 Louisville Cardinals is this Saturday at noon and will be broadcasted on ESPN.
Represent your Red and Black, and beat Duke. Go CARDS! L1C4