Well, kids, there’s a reason.
Which became obvious tonight as Louisville escaped Old Dominion 68-62 in OT on Paradise Island.
The Cards were hitting 61% from the line coming into the game. And that came against three rummies in the friendly confines of the not so full Yum! Center.
At the end of regulation, with the score knotted at 49, the Cards had made but 8 of their 17 charity attempts. 47% will not win many — any??? — games against major college competition. And it certainly wasn’t enough tonight. Especially given how god awful disgusting U of L played for most of regulation, until they kind of woke up to salvage a draw.
Ah, but in OT, the Cards, who were 2/4 from the field in extra time, canned 14 of the first 16 free throws they attempted. That’s a seriously lofty 87.5%.
That’s a game winning 87.5%.
Jaylen Johnson missed a couple with 9 ticks to play, but the Cardinals had secured its fourth and most lackluster W of the season by then.
For comparison, ODU was 7/13 from the line in OT — game losing — though the Monarchs hit one more FG than U of L in the final five minutes.
* * * * *
As suspected all along, Donovan Mitchell proved he’s the Cards go to guy.
With 5:34 to play, and the score even at 40, the sophomore was 2/14 from the field.
Then he made his last three FGs. All were significant and timely. A trey out of a time out to pull the Cards with a point at 44-43. Then a jumper the next trip for a one point lead. Soon thereafter he drove and dished to Ray Spalding for a 47-44 advantage.
He opened the Cards scoring in OT with another 3. And drained all 4 of his charity opportunities. He ended up with 7 rebounds and a couple assists.
But for his fortitude and will to win, the Cards would be playing tomorrow evening in the loser’s bracket. (Instead they get tough Wichita State on a very very short turnaround. The Shockers absolutely throttled LSU in their tourney opener.)
Quentin Snider tallied 18. Despite his 4/13 shooting, he was steady at the helm. Mangok Mathiang scored 12. But also turned it over 5 times. JJ grabbed 12 boards in only 28 minutes.
For some unfathomable reason, Deng Adel played 40 minutes. He was 2/13 from the field, taking a scary number of early, bad shots. His game, allegedly spectacular over the summer, is failing to settle in as expected.
* * * * *
Yes, the Cards persevered, taking care of business when necessary. And at Turkey Dinner, whenever they get to eat it, they should give special thanks that Old Dominion sucks even worse at the line than they do.
But overall it was a woeful effort. They were outrebounded by the significantly shorter Monarchs. And hit only 29.7% of their shots (19/64).
Let’s be frank, Louisville’s many flaws were exposed tonight. There is much work to be done.
Tomorrow’s encounter with the Shockers could be really ugly.
— Seedy K