The Louisville Cardinals meanwhile scored 18 straight, ending that interlude spanning intermission with a 49-35 lead.
That anschluss, which included most all of the Cards best moments of a win that came too hard, started with a 9-0 run between timeouts. El Ellis lay up. A Malik Williams fastbreak deuce to knot it up. A Matt Cross triple. Another Ellis lay up.
Ellis tallied again on another breakout for the 42-35 advantage at the break.
After a number of ugly possessions by both teams to start the 2d, Noah Locke drained a J. Followed by a Dre Davis steal, and a Dre Davis +1 conversion.
Then posting up, Davis had his shot blocked, but fought for the rock, and scored. 49-35.
In the other 32:57 of the contest, the feisty visitors were +12, and had the game tied, 67 all, after Davis scored the last of his game high 27 with 1:39 left.
Which is to state the obvious: U of L once again was a far lesser than expected team against a winless, should have been overmatched foe.
* * * * *
The definition of “indispensable” is “absolutely necessary.”
Jarrod West is absolutely necessary.
Which is to say I N D I S P E N S A B L E.
After a timeout, with the battle tied at 67, way-over-his-head-in-the-first-chair Mike Pegues made the right call. A set for a Noah Locke trey, which netted off a catch and bounce. 70-67.
Then West made the key play of the game, showing zero mercy on Detroit’s Davis, forcing a game securing turnover. The Cards’ captain converted one of 2 FTs.
Then Dre Davis finished off easily his best game as a Card, cutting off the baseline and forcing another giveaway by the vanquished.
West sealed the deal with two more FTs, for the deceiving final six point margin.
* * * * *
Davis, Dre led U of L with 18 points on 7/15 marksmanship. Nine rebounds, including four off Cardinal misses. Two steals, An assist. And his always present intense D.
* * * * *
During Purdue’s impressive W over North Carolina, which I watched after returning home, Fran Fraschilla had an astute observation about Hubert Davis and the Tar Heels. Which, for me, provides some confirmation for my belief why the Cards have been faltering.
Which is the absence of Chris Mack. And the lack of cohesive coaching and head man mentoring by the assistants currently in charge.
During a timeout, Fraschilla said, “I love an organized huddle. Look at Hubert Davis. That team is locked in and organized.”
U of L has been anything but during the four opening tilts.
Too many voices. Too little vision. No apparent wisdom or coherent plan.
There’s a reason most assistants stay assistants.
Doc and I have taken to doing post game post mortems. Tonight he called a second time, complaining about the techniques of a couple of U of L’s leaders on the court.
Doc loves the Cardinals as much as anybody, but Doc takes hostages.
I made him promise not to give up on any of the members of this team, until at least a month after Chris Mack returns.
I’ll repeat what I’ve said after every game this season.
Whatever you think of Mack’s coaching, he understands what it takes to be a head coach.
None of the fellows on the bench for the first four games, or the next two, do.
The diffuse messaging this squad is receiving from too many voices, it appears to me, is a main reason why the play has been so inconsistent and underwhelming.
* * * * *
Matt Cross, a baller, didn’t play as much as expected.
Pegues couldn’t explain exactly why.
Along with that aforementioned threeball in the late 1st half run, Cross forced a tie up from the weakside, giving Louisville an extra possession in that surge.
* * * * *
Sidney Curry played 4:38 in the 1st. Sat for the 2d.
Roosevelt Wheeler was on the pine for the entirety of the 1st. Saw a solid 1:30 of action after intermission.
Malik Williams’ numbers deceive. He went for 11/9.
On the court, he looks like a 40 year old with bad legs in a Tuesday night league at the Y.
His mature presence is obviously a plus. But he’s competing by guile alone. And that’s not going to be enough against better competition. Which starts, oh, next time out.
But Pegues hasn’t exactly prepped the backups for more PT of significance.
Williamson had 8 boards, 7 in the 1st.
Locke scored 16.
* * * * *
Detroit drove it to the hoop all night. Louisville didn’t. The Cards didn’t make a FT in the 1st.
How appropriate they introduced Jerome Harmon on the screen during a timeout. He could play. He just wouldn’t go to class. Literally. And his career was short.
U of L’s next four games are on the road.
I beseech Naismithius, the Greek God of Hoops, to bestow upon the Cards at least a split.
— c d kaplan