Louisville dropped its 2nd game in a row and fell to 20-6 on the season after going down 69-59 in Syracuse’s Carrier Dome.
The Cards were without the services of senior point guard Chris Jones who missed the game while serving a suspension. Rick Pitino minced no words in his pre-game and post-game comments about Chris Jones. “If I get back and he hasn’t taken care of his business, Hell will freeze over before he ever wears a Louisville uniform again.”
Coach Pitino also did not utilize the services of freshman Shaqquan Aaron who Pitino said “If he had that effort and attitude of Quentin Snider he would be playing.” Pitino went on about Chris and Shaqquan and highlighted that neither player was acting like a “Louisville Man”.
Clearly, Rick Pitino is taking his entire team to task in terms of effort, character, attitude, and accountability. If Pitino is going to get this team to make a run, he has to get his team’s attention. At this point, he’s tried everything so this could be the final last ditch effort.
The good news versus Syracuse is that freshman point guard Quentin Snider really played well in relief of Chris Jones finishing with 13 points in 38 minutes and added 4 assists and ZERO turnovers. Also, freshman Chinanu Onuaku played 31 minutes and tallied 8 points and 11 rebounds with 3 assists while playing some of the most extensive action of the season. There is still plenty of work to be done defensively with these two, but progress is progress….even in a loss.
Wayne Blackshear added a frustrating night, fouling out in just 19 minutes and added 0 points and 0 rebounds. With the Cards going most of the season as a ‘Core Four’, this was really bad timing for a game like this to happen without the services of Chris Jones and Shaqquan Aaron. Also for the 2nd game in a row, Terry Rozier had an off shooting night and finished the game without a foul………
If one of the best steal guys on the floor (Rozier) finishes the game without a foul then he wasn’t aggressive enough defensively. With Wayne out, Jones at home, and Anton Gill struggling for most of 2014-15, Coach Pitino had to resort to walk-on David Levitch for 16 minutes….against Syracuse….in the Carrier Dome.
Somehow Louisville had a chance to win this game on the road in February at Syracuse. Even if this is a below average Syracuse team, Louisville is much too fragile of a team to have the type of instability that it went through tonight….but Coach Pitino has a plan to motivate now and win later. Whether he expects win this March or next season we’ll have to see. But it is clear that Rick Pitino is going to have things his way or the highway.
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