Louisville had to wait 8 days to wash away the taste of a loss at home vs. Duke. Rick Pitino gave his team a couple of days off, they worked on the zone offense, implemented some old presses, and added some wrinkles. BAM! The Cards were able to take down the Pitt Panthers at the Petersen Events Center, an impossible place to play, by double digits 80-68.
Winning on the road is difficult. Winning at the Zoo (as the Petersen Events Center is known) is even more difficult. The Cards, however, are 4-1 all-time at the PEC and that’s twice as many as any program not named Pittsburgh.
The Cards were led by Terry Rozier who played nearly every minute and finished with 26 points on 10-16 shooting with 5 rebounds and 6 assists. BIG TIME. But Rozier didn’t have to do it himself because Chris Jones kept his Steve Nash impression going with 17 points on 6-10 shooting with NINE assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals in 35 minutes.
And Montrezl Harrell got back to playing like the Trez that established himself as a pre-season All-American. Dunks, playing off the ball, working the baseline, and terrorizing teams who have to account for Louisville guards in the lane.
THAT was Cardinal Basketball.
The Cards aren’t a perfect team, but when they move the ball on offense and shots fall like they did on Sunday in Pittsburgh they can beat any team in the country. Louisville was out-rebounded, but actually dominated points in the paint 40-18 and the Cardinal bench also out-scored the Pitt reserves 13-6. Progress.
Wayne Blackshear fouled out but he actually had a really nice game defensively and did have 6 points on 4 shots. Rick Pitino talked in post-game about Quentin Snider’s offensive readiness and that he’ll have to play him more despite not really being ready defensively. Getting Mangok Mathiang to hit all 5 of his free throws is a BIG DEAL, and it was a off night for Chinanu Onukau. But nothing is ever going to be perfect and the progress that Louisville exhibited Sunday is exactly what we’ve seen the past 3 seasons in late January.
Now Louisville must travel to Boston on Wednesday to face Boston College for a game at 9:00 p.m. The Boston area is bracing for 24+ inches of snow starting on Sunday night.