Sports are one of life’s great diversions. Developing loyalty. Donning your team’s colors. Cheering them on. Joyously cherishing their victories. Worrying over their defeats, but accepting them.
Sports are one of the ways we escape, if only momentarily, the vicissitudes of life. Especially when a pandemic still rages.
So it has been for me with the University of Louisville Cardinals since I was 7 years old. On the hardwood. On the gridiron. On the diamond.
But yesterday’s bracing events in D.C. wouldn’t allow me to fully engage. Even for U of L’s first real conference test against Virginia Tech.
It has always been my belief and goal to keep politics and world events out of this venture. So it shall be today.
In fact, I breached my own code recently when responding to a Comment at Card Chronicle. For which, I was justifiably chided. I promised not to do it again. And will not.
But, I just needed to provide some perspective as to why this gamecap will be a more cursory take than usual on the Cards’ 73-71 escape over the Hokies.
What I am grateful for is that there was a Louisville game last night to watch.
Win or lose. It was the two hour immersion that mattered to me.
I mean, really, what matter is a missed dunk, an airballed trey, a careless turnover, occasional miscommunication on D?
That U of L won on one of the saddest and scariest days of my lifetime is a blessing.
* * * * *
Quinn Slazinski continues to become a more important cog in the Cardinals’ wheel. He is kind of turning into this edition’s Dwayne Sutton.
I didn’t keep my usual notes last night, for the reasons set out above, but know that Q grabbed some crucial rebounds, hit a couple of huge shots, and was intense at the defensive end.
On one of Carlik Jones’ several pilfers, the Cards PG was thwarted on his breakaway at the rim. Slazinski hustled behind the play, to clean it up for the follow tally.
Jae’Lyn Withers posted a 16/12 double double. He also had a couple of crafty steals, a big man block.
U of L’s guard tandem of Carlik Jones and David Johnson netted 17 each.
Dre Davis snared 8 boards.
JJ Traynor made a great offensive move on a play even if he didn’t score. He got the rock, posting up. Couldn’t back his man down, so he swiveled to face his defender and the hoop. He wasn’t able to convert, but his thinking and intuition were impressive.
* * * * *
After Tech went deuce, trey, trey, trey on its first four possessions, Chris Mack called a timeout.
His message was obviously heard. From that point on, U of L was gritty on D, and tough to score on.
At times, it was really great defense, the best of the Mack era.
The Cards wobbled. Early and late.
But, at the end of a 19-6 run, a Q threeball from the corner gave U of L its first lead at 19-17.
Which they never relinquished the rest of the way.
U of L was strong again, coming out of halftime, outscoring the visitors, 7-0.
* * * * *
The Cards’ game with Georgia Tech, scheduled for Saturday has been postponed.
Keep your fingers crossed for a visit to Wake Forest next Wednesday for a late afternoon encounter with the Demon Deacons.
— c d kaplan