Louisville Basketball notched its 8th consecutive win over the Pitt Panthers on Wednesday evening. The Cards haven’t lost to the Panthers since 2010, but this time in the Petersen Events Center UofL had to pull off the victory despite long scoring droughts, foul trouble, a short bench, and ZERO points from its second leading scorer (Trey Lewis).
So how did the Cards pull it off? Fantastic play from point guard Quentin Snider, clutch shots from David Levitch, a complete performance by Chinanu Onuaku, and a continued emergence from Deng Adel. Pitino also was able to use “exotic” line-ups as Quentin Snider said during post-game, “At one point I saw DA (Deng Adel) at the 5 spot, so I guess it’s run & gun”. But Pitino also used a line-up to close the 1st half with Jay Henderson, David Levitch, and Matz Stockman on the floor with Q & Damion Lee.
“I’m coaching 41 years and I don’t think I’ve ever been as proud of a basketball team as I am this basketball team. We have 3 frontcourt players out. We are playing 2 walk-ons for 4-5 minutes in the 1st half and they didn’t lose anything but get the lead. I just feel like a proud father, I can’t be any prouder of a basketball team and I told them that.” — Rick Pitino
Quentin Snider finished the game with 14 points and 7 assists in 34 minutes. Snider broke out of a mini slump and really found a rhythm in the 2nd half especially when the Cards needed a boost. Snider said that he is looking at the final four games of the season like the NCAA Tournament: “That’s how I look at it, the last four games we won the Sweet 16 today. We going to the Elite 8 on Saturday. We’ve got to play it just like a tournament.”
David Levitch got a steal and a lay-up early and then drained two big-time 3s when the Cards needed them. Rick Pitino said afterward, “David Levitch gave us an incredible lift, the passing was beautiful.” Pitino added, “David Levitch has the biggest Onions of all-time.”
Chinanu Onuaku had 10 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal. His passing was set him a part from the competition in this game. Cross court passes for 3 and he stayed out of foul trouble. Quentin said after the game: “Nanu created shots for me, he’s like a David Padgett for Louisville. He looked out for me and I looked out for him.”
Lastly Deng Adel continues to impress finishing with 12 points & 7 rebounds Adel made his presence known in the box score. But his deflections, length, and intangibles really make Deng stand out beyond the box. His one-handed slam in the 2nd half helped spark the eventual game-winning run. Adel said of his slam, “Donovan Mitchell is my room mate, I’m sick of seeing him on SportsCenter every day. I had to do that for him one time.”
The Pittsburgh student section made some low-brow signs and threw fake money at Pitino during introductions. The Cards have won 8 in a row over Pitt and now have just 3 games left to end the season: at Miami, vs. Georgia Tech, and at Virginia.
UofL is tied for 2nd in the ACC with Miami and own the tie-breaker vs. North Carolina if the Tar Heels lose one of their final 3 games of the regular season vs. Virginia, Syracuse, and Duke. If the Cards can sweep their final 3 they have an excellent chance at taking home the ACC regular season. Deng Adel says of winning the ACC Regular Season “That’s our primary goal.”
“You would think we were favorites to win the national championship they way we are practicing. No question about it. No bitterness. Nothing.” — Rick Pitino
With an attitude like that the Cards have a chance to finish the season with the only hardware it can achieve to close 2015-16.
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