Sometimes it seems to come easy. Host Louisville’s 84-65 win over Florida State, Wednesday night was just that, easy.
Florida State (12-6, 2-4) came into the KFC Yum Center with some momentium having beat 13th ranked Virginia, Sunday, 69-62. However Louisville (15-3, 4-1) would have none of that.
The 17th ranked Cardinals never trailed, led 41-27 at halftime and 73-41 with 6:49 to play. No contest.
“Except for the last two minutes, it was a great performance by our guys,” said Rick Pitino. “I think we did a lot of good things tonight. Florida State is a very dangerous ball club. They have a lot of offensive weapons, a lot of size but our guys rose to the occasion and played a great game.”
When was the last time you heard Rick Pitino use the word “great” about a win.
Guard Quentin Snider led the Cardinals with 20 point, one shy of his career high against North Carolina State. Freshman guard Donovan Mitchell got his fourth start and finished with 13 points four rebounds, one assist and a block. He also had a thunderous dunk in the first-half.
“I thought our defense was real good with our press,”said Snider. “We’ve got those guards if we are tired, they’ve got to be exhausted. I saw they were exhausted and we put pressure on the ball handler. It makes them waste shot clock and they can’t get into their play.”
FSU was shooting over 46 percent from the field coming into the game and was 72 percent at the free throw line. FSU was 25 of 59 from the floor for 42.4 percent (9 of 18 from three). The Noles were 9 of 21 at the foul line and turned the ball over 16 times.
“It was a great performance by our team,” said Pitino. “We’re getting better and better in all phases of the game. Our ball movement is good. Our recignition on what is going on to was brilliant tonight.”
Lost in all this was another solid night by sophomore center Chinanu Onuaku who finished with 11 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks. It was his fifth double-double.
“I thought Nanu was great on the backboard,” said Pitino. “We did a lot of good things.
The Cards out rebounded the bigger FSU team 44-36, had four blocked shots and nine steals.
Louisville had 17 offensive rebounds which were turned into 14 points. The Cardinals also had 42 points in the paint.
“We had 57 paint touches and thats a record for us,” said Pitino.
-The Cardinals are 22-2 all-time at home versus Florida State.
-Louisville has had eight or more steals 10 times this season. Quentin Snider’s eight made field goals set a career-high. His previous best was seven versus N.C. State.
-The 14 rebounds by Onuaku is one shy of his career high.
-On the road again. The Cardinals travel to Georgia Tech, Saturday for a 4 p.m. game then travel to Virginia Tech next Wednesday, Jan. 27.
-“We’ve got two big road games coming up,” said Pitino. “Georgia Tech has two big guys like Chinanu Onuaku, very strong low post game, very physical in everthing they do.
“We have two very difficult road games and we have to be ready for them.”
Those two won’t be easy.
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