By Beau Kilpatrick—
The No. 6 Louisville Cardinals took down Boston College yesterday by 23 points in their 90-67 victory in Massachusetts. U of L looks to move into the top-5 in the country after this win.
The Cards seemed to effortlessly dismantle the Golden Eagles from the opening tip to the final buzzer. Coach Pitino’s defense was relentless, which caused Boston College to struggle moving the ball. The Cards’ offense was making all the right plays to put themselves in great position to score.
Video highlights: https://youtu.be/YvemWAzeKQ0
Louisville’s defense caused nine turnovers, eight steals, five blocks, and the team gathered 32 rebounds. Anas Mahmoud blocked three shots and Deng Adel added two blocks of his own. Donovan Mitchell had an impressive four of the team’s eight steals. Ray Spalding and Jaylen Johnson grabbed seven rebounds each.
Deng Adel had a career night, putting up 19 points. Adel usually averages about ten points and he is very consistent at that mark. So to see Adel score nearly 20 points was quite impressive.
Donovan Mitchell had a slow start against the Golden Eagles. He is still filling the shoes of Louisville’s injured point guard Quentin Snider. This may be why he began so slowly. You could see that he was looking to spread the ball around to get his teammates into a rhythm. When Mitchell was forced to shoot, he scored at will. Mitchell contributed 19 points, shooting 70 percent from the field. Along with Mitchell’s four steals, he added three rebounds and three assists.
Pitino’s shining freshman V.J. King seems to be getting better every week. King is sure to make his way to the starting lineup if he continues to play as well as he has in recent weeks. King scored 11 points, had a steal, and added three rebounds to the team’s total.
V.J. King has the potential to be a special player come tournament time. He is a versatile athlete that can make the three, drive aggressively to the rim, he plays hard on defense, and is solid at the free-throw line.
The full box score: http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/boxscore?gameId=400915420
But it was Mangok Mathiang who has been the difference maker for the Cards. He has finally returned to peak performance after suffering broken bones in his foot twice since becoming a Cardinal. Mathinag was has been dominant in recent weeks and he turned on his beast mode at Boston College. He made 7-11 shots for 16 points. Mathiang also grabbed four rebounds, had two steals and added an assist to his stats.
Mathiang gives the Cardinals a bit of toughness balanced with finesse in the paint. Mahmoud is a shot-blocking machine but lacks in offense. Ray Spalding is dominating on defense but also lacks offense. Jaylen Johnson is a big body that disrupts opposing teams around the rim; however, he has a tendency to commit senseless fouls. Mathiang will need to consistently provide this balance for Louisville so that Pitino can create unique matchups with the rest of his roster. When Mathiang struggles, Pitino has to balance his team with an extra forward.
Louisville has to quickly prepare for their next game on Monday. The Cardinals will have to face their conference nemesis, the Virginia Cavaliers. Louisville struggles with Virginia and the methodical coaching style of Tony Bennett. Virginia is a team that slows down the game, taking every second possible off of the clock. They pass the ball around better than anyone in the country and they play a sound pressing defense. This is all contrary to Pitino’s fast paced Cardinals. But hopefully Louisville can find a way to eek out a victory against this challenging opponent as they have only beaten the Cavs once in five meetings, and the Cards have yet to break the 60-point mark against UVA.
More on the UL vs. UVA rivalry: http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/preview?gameId=400915425
The No. 6 Louisville Cardinals will travel to the University of Virginia to challenge the No. 9 Cavaliers Monday night, February 6. This ACC conference rivalry will be broadcasted on ESPN 2 at 7 p.m.
As always, GO CARDS!!! #L1C4