Louisville Card File: Pittsburgh

joaniecardCoincidence or catalyst?

With 12:05 left, Louisville’s unimpressive five point halftime advantage had dissipated.

And then some.

A Panther trey had just given the feisty visitors a six point advantage. L 39, P 45.

Never one to hold onto timeouts, The Rick called his fourth of the battle, second in the last 90 seconds. To the bench, he escorted Chris Jones, who was playing as if he was still 1 on 5 at Northwest Florida State College, along with Anton Gill, who has yet to rediscover the scoring panache he displayed in prep school.

In their stead, coach inserted Q and Qx2 into the lineup. That would be Quentin Snider and Shaqquan Aaron.

Here’s what happened in the next 7:51.

Or, as Sly Stone would opine, “Boom laka-laka-laka, boom laka-laka-laka boom.”

Here’s what a patent-pending Cardinal BOOM!!! looks like spelled out on paper.

Terry Rozier jumper. 41-45.

Chinanu Onuaku block, three offensive boards, fourth chance baseline jump hook by Q. 43-45.

Montrezl Harrell slam. 45-45.

Not So Silent L block, TR fast break layup. 47-45

Qx2 steal, sweet Q pull up 12 foot J. 49-45.

MH FT, after Pitt sneaked in a charity toss. 50-46. (How’d dat happen?)

Harrell steal, Harrell layin. 52-46.

MH FT. 53-46.

TR converted 1+1, after another Pitt charity toss. 55-47.

Rozier J. 57-47.

Second chance Rozier jumper. 59-47.

Third chance Harrell jam. 61-47.

After which BOOM!!!, the black-clad visitors were burnt toast.

Jam was still to be applied to said toast. On the ensuing possession, Anas Mahmoud blocked an attempted Josh Newkirk layup all the way to the Ali Center courtyard. Aaron seconded that emotion, blocking Pitt’s next attempt on the same trip.

Beleaguered Jamie Dixon’s Panthers finally drained a garbage time FG at the 1:33 mark. Hold your abacus, I’ve got the number for you. That was ten minutes and thirty two seconds after their last field goal.

Boom laka-laka-laka, boom laka-laka-laka BOOM!!!

* * * * *

Panther Sheldon Jeter, who started instead of Cam Wright, who was injured and didn’t compete, “I wouldn’t say it was intimidation . . . I would just say . . .  scratch that . . .  I would say it was intimidation.”

* * * * *

You could get get better odds than winning last night’s half billion buck Powerball, if you could correctly pick the guy or time in one of several Joey the Vig Pool.

Before tip against Pitt, the last Cardinal 5th Man tally — a score by anyone other than Rozier, Jones, Blackshear or Harrell — was a Nanu FT with 3:13 left in OT against North Carolina, 88:13 minutes of ACC action ago. The last Cardinal FG was Aaron’s follow with 15:25 to play in the second half against the Tar Heels, 105.25 minutes ago.1

The correct play in the 5th Man Tally Pool was Onuaku (4-1 according to the Vig), who laid one in on a nifty post up just 116 seconds in, at the 18:04 mark.

The over/under on clock time since the last score (Remember 88:13 before tip) was 105:30.

If you took the under, and/or Nanu, head to the cashier window now.

* * * * *

Not only was there a 5th Cardinal scorer, there was a veritable Bench Blizzard.2

The subs saw 79 minutes of action, surely the most in a meaningful game this season.

Q scored 4, Mango a deuce, Gill a slam, and, along with Onuaku’s quartet of points, that gave the Cards a hefty 12 points by guys not named, well, you know.

* * * * *

The easy analogy for what Montrezl Harrell did last night to the poor Panthers is to go all Marshawn Lynch, and call it Beast Mode.

It is also the apt analogy.

Allow me to follow the crowd in lock step.

28 points. 12 rebounds. 5 blocks.

Silent L drained several short range jumpers, all of which but one were legit, unforced attempts within the flow of the offense.

During one first half segment, Harrell scored 12 of the Cardinals’ 14 points. Four jumpers and two layups, wrapped around a Jones score.

* * * * *

After scoring only four before the intermission, Rozier finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and three assists.

* * * * *

Chris Jones fell off the wagon, reverting to MeMeMe Mode.

For which intransigence, he sat on the pine, watching as his teammates eviscerated the visitors.

* * * * *

Wayne Blackshear only played a smidge over a minute, due to a hip pointer injury.

* * * * *

U of L has now won 13 of its last 14 games in February.

The Cards are 78-1 when leading at the half, during the last three seasons.

The last time Louisville didn’t drain a trey was January ’92 against Wyoming.

* * * * *

Knock me over with a Cardinal feather, there was actually a moment of real, old school, trad college rah rah in the second half last night.

Scripted, of course, because, nary of a nanosecond of stoppage time is allowed to pass without Joey Joey Joey or the twerking Ladybirds or, most often, a commercial of some sort.

Anyway, Sean Moth actually introduced Louie the Cardinal Bird mascot, who invoked his inner Rob Hickerson, leading the faithful in a C*A*R*D*S chant. Not once, but twice.

It was like being back in Freedom Hall. Well, uh, almost.

The relatively passive crowd did get fired up, when the Cards needed a boost early in the second half. Prodded to excitement by the scoreboard.3

I did enjoy the interlude of Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town.” Phil Lynnett’s a dude. Great song.

* * * * *

One thing The Rick said last night was uttered without a forked tongue.

“Every game in February is big.”

Next: Dangerous N.C. State.

— Seedy K

5 thoughts on “Louisville Card File: Pittsburgh

  1. Nice insert with JLH and Sly reference (just don’t let CJ get into a thank u fa lettin me be mice elf again mode); maybe Moth and company can put this into the musical interludes at timeouts. Most impressed with Q having the confidence/ trust/ naivete to actually pass the ball to the “5’s” in spots giving them opportunity. Playing 5-on-5 was novel and had not been given a chance to happen in quite a while.
    It looked like being invited to the party on offense made everyone want to “clean up” after the party on the boards and on “D”.

  2. I believe if the Big Egyptian can gain 25 pounds of muscle (which shouldn’t be too hard considering his length and build) and a degree or two of Trezl’s mindset, we may have something.

    Despite all odds, AOM seems to have a significant b-ball aptitude and instincts that most foreign players lack when commencing playing ball in the States. His reach on rim protection seems to surprise most opponents. His hands are better than most young Bigs. His passing ability for a big-frosh is exemplary. His shot has more than mere promise.

    I know he is not ready now as shown by his getting pushed into the Lady Birds on every foul shot attempt put up by PITT, And, he is probably getting the correct amount of minutes considering what we are playing for and who we are playing.

    But, by his third year, he may well surpass the Great Gorg’s as the best non-American player in UofL history….

  3. One aspect of the big E’s game that I like, the idea that when he is thrown the ball you feel relatively confident that he will catch it….. and when he snags a rebound he seldom fumbles it away or automatically brings the ball down to knee level….I know….rudimentary stuff but still a departure.

  4. Maybe (apologies to Little Richard) Long Tall “E”. Even when he hasn’t blocked a shot, he has been a shot “alterer” and dissuader. He has been much less likely to swat down and draw fouls unless he is pursuing from weakside and/or behind.
    On to another matter. Pitino has accurately pointed out the decrease in deflections as well as steals and attributes it to missed shots at the other end of the floor causing an effect on defense. While it seems to be true, I also wonder how much has to do with the fact that since this team has such a poor collective basketball IQ, and little ability to either want to pass or realize where opportunities for assists or passes that might lead to passes for assists (triangles as in soccer, Denny’s (Wooden’s) high post or Phil’s), the current players on defense have no basis for anticipating where the opponents passing lanes might be. Last year and the year before, the kids seemed to sense where the next pass might be going and not from rote memory or from “scouting reports”. When the art of passing is not mastered the reflexive understanding of what the opposition might try next may be absent.

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