U of L CardFile: Siena

If this edition of the Louisville Cardinals is to have any significant success this season, it should have learned the modus operandi that will get it there last night.

It won’t be through fancy maneuvering. NBA rookie phenom Donovan Mitchell shan’t be taking the court, and it’s apparent nobody on this squad, for all the talent there is, has DM’s panache. It won’t be through banging the boards, for these guys, notwithstanding all their length, are lithe up front.

It won’t be through long ball marksmanship. OK, that’s not really true, maybe it will. This team has some shooters. And they’re guys who aren’t afraid to fire it. So, yeah, there shall be games when treys will reign.

But that’s not the key factor here.

What is is H.U.S.T.L.E..

For the first time this campaign, the Cardinals showed what happens when they get inside their foe’s jockstraps. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

That it was a necessary lesson against the #278 ranked team in the land proves the point. Scrappiness shall be a necessary component of every minute of every encounter.

 * * * * *

The prime example from last night’s smotherization of the Saints is obviously the 18 point run that blew the game open in the 2d.

But, ever the contrarian, my favorite sequence came at the end of an otherwise moribund performance by the Cards in the 1st. (I’ll own it here. So despondent was I that I honestly considered leaving at the half, something I’ve never done. Of course, I didn’t. My DNA would have caused an implosion of some sort.)

The Cards were just not there for most of the first twenty, until . . .

. . . until the magnificent sequence that commenced with 2:37 until the cocktail break. U of L had regained the advantage several trips down the court earlier, and led again 35-33 after a couple Quentin Snider FTs.

The Cardinals then showed what happens when they are relentless.

Dwayne Sutton pilfered the rock.

Darius Perry missed a layup. But Sutton soared for the board. But missed the tip.

Deng Adel grabbed that miss, and the ball ended up in Jordan Nwora’s hands. But he missed a three. Adel was there first for the follow, but his tip wouldn’t drop.

Finally Anas Mahmoud said — figuratively with his actions not literally — “enough’s enough” and drained it.

Louisville 37-33.

As when Tommy hit the stage, the crowd went crazy.

(One guy’s observation: the smallest assemblage for a Louisville game since the move to the Yum!. Embarrassing actually.)

 * * * * *

Siena never really threatened again, though the Saints did cut the lead in the 2d to 48-47 with 15:26 to play . . . but . . . then The Anschluss.

In the next 6:24 of game action, Louisville blistered the bewildered visitors for 18 straight points.

There were steals. Six if you’re inclined for exactitude.

There were slams. Several breakaway.

There were assists.

There were put backs.

It was a relentless thing of beauty.

While everybody on the court in home whites was in on it, the catalysts, the prime movers were Dwayne Sutton and Darius Perry. They stalked their prey like rabid junkyard dogs. OK, Ray Spalding also gets special mention. He too was dogged.

The tally was 66-47 before the Saints scored again.

To their credit, the Cards kept the pedal to the metal. (I really should save some of these metaphors, the season remains young. But, you know, the thrill of victory and all.) There was another 13-1 run late, from 66-51 to 79-52.

They key was, oh I’ll let the coach tell you:

“We had a good defensive lineup in there. They just kind of got us going. We got some deflections . . . ”

He also gave special mention to Darius Perry, whom I expect to see more and more alongside improving Q. VJ King just doesn’t seem to be getting the plan.

 * * * * *

There’s still plenty to work on. Siena is, after all, not a very good team.

And the Cards gave up a bunch of offensive rebounds, which, frankly, shall be a recurring theme. Going for those blocks — U of L had 15, Anas 9 — gives up weakside caroms. It’s a cost/ benefit situation. Last night it worked, against better teams, maybe not. We’ll see. Mahmoud and the Cards are among the nation’s block leaders, it’s an aspect of this squad’s character.

The Saints’ Sammy Friday — love his name — who was averaging 2 ppg and 2.8 rpg coming in, went for 15 and 15 (10 offensive).

Which I point out to add some levity to my morning after exuberance. Friday’s no Marvin Bagley III, to name but one big in U of L’s future.

But this is no time to dwell on flaws, though I’m sure David Padgett and his staff will in preparation for improving Indiana and beyond. I expected the Cards might come out a different team in the 2d. They returned to the court way earlier than normal. DP’s halftime admonishment was apparently short and not so sweet.

The beatdown of Siena was nice. The manner of its execution and what such gritty play portends for the future if it becomes the norm, more so.

— Seedy K

8 thoughts on “U of L CardFile: Siena

  1. Re: DP (player, not coach) TYS….. VG continues to be Very G One player other than Sutton did box out at least on one occasion last nite, but not Deng, nor Q, and Deng still must thinks there are dangerous critters close to the basket except when he is trying to drive to shoot & score but never to retrieve a defensive board or to score with an offensive rebound. Sometime soon hopefully players will realize that unless they have “protector” responsibilities against a runout, they can score more easily on an offernsive rebound putback that they can by hanging out on the wing spotted up waiting for someone else to rebound and throw them the ball for a “3” Also of note, in the 2nd half Ray at least twice took the ball to the rim willing to take or even create contact and draw a foul…. must have heard what Denny always told his players to NOT try to avoid contact but to invite the opponent to foul and make an old fashion 3 pt play

  2. If you expected the second half dominance, why did you consider leaving at the half? Surely not to beat the “crowd” to the exits and parking garages…

    It seems to me that a general malaise has festered over the Cardinal Sports programs. The football team may (?) have worked around it, but it’s hard to say convincingly considering the very poor caliber of teams we played after our bye week. For sure, the fan base didn’t show up for our last 2 home tilts to see the very best player we are likely ever to see. Perhaps the only thing worse than our attendance in Lexington was the sparce gathering of Ky. fans considering their break through 7-4 campaign. I, too, plead guilty missing my first governors cup in the 24 years it has been played on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. And I can’t even tell you why I didn’t go…

    Last nights attendance was closer to what the woman draw…and as a season ticket holder even the highly ranked and excellent Walz team lead by two of the best players in the country aren’t drawing what they usually draw.

    Is it indemic to all sports, pro and amateur? Is it over saturation? Or is it backlash by fans who are tired of being taken for granted and seeing coaches and administrators being paid millions, often without even coaching or working? Have the ticket prices gotten out of hand? Has the ridiculous idea of an $8.00 draft beer finally settled in? Or is parking on second and main for $20 on a Wednesday night to see the Siena Saints so oft-putting that folks would rather stay home and watch Netflix?

    Add in the fact that our team(s) are the butts of jokes around the country over hookers and being caught on tape buying players; the firing of two icons by a B of T seemingly being led by the invisible hand of our biggest rival…

    …well, I guess I am seeing why you almost left at halftime…

  3. I would add that while I still faithfully go to all our men’s hoops games if I am not out of town (which I also try not to do during season) I continue to be frustrated by being not just a “customer” but being used as a financially qualified audience for the Athletic Association to provide for the incessant advertisements during the breaks in game. Were the crowd to actually be actively involved and noisy in support of the team, these advertisements squelch the enthusiasm and take away the authentic home court advantage that Freedom Hall once had. Now the crowd is silenced waiting and watching the video board to see if their smile, or dance or hug makes them the story instead of the team and the game. How nice it was to have the original C-A-R-D-S cheer to actually make the arena ring once this year…
    I don’t appreciate paying a significant fee to be used to sell advertising time to support the salaries of Athletic Association Employees that make more than faculty at the University

  4. Can’t argue with anything you gents have opined, but, of course, I shall. A bit. I didn’t expect 2d half dominance, which is why I truly did consider exiting. Couldn’t do it obviously. Instead assuaged my dismay of Cards’s first half doldrums with an oatmeal raisin cookie. ($5. $5 fucking dollars.) Attendance is down all across sports. Too much cable. Too many video games. I mean, where were the students last night? Studying? Really? Last night’s crowd did get in the game, cheering on the team when it needed encouragement. Cardinal fans have obviously hit the wall. Tired of having pockets rummaged through at every moment. Welcome to the bowl game, travel packages available, don’t wait. Don’t even get me started about Joey. If only Doc’s pals, Mickey and Brad, were here to take that microphone and perform a rectal insertion. But, our love for the Cards is too deep, too true. We shall abide. As long as this gang continues to hustle, it’s all we can ask.

  5. It was on TV. It was Siena. We were favored by 23 (ha! we covered!). That alone would produce a tug toward your favorite flat screen. Beyond that, the seats in the lower arena are owned by donors and corps that buy MULTIPLE seats that are not occupied on nights like this because you can’t give the tickets away. As has been noted, you pay handsomely to park near the arena or its a long walk in the cold. A typical trip to the concession stand is $8 for a beer, $4 for a fucking bottle of water and then $15 for a couple of half cooked hot dogs. Right on about timeout activities. They are crowd killers. Yes, I think some fans are just sick of the commercialization of all of this. As we made our way back to the car (there’s generally meter over on 6th street, free after 6) I asked my wife if she missed Freedom Hall, I got an immediate yes which I seconded. I don’t miss the traffic in and out, but I sure miss that old
    cattle show barn and the roar when the Cardinals were in full flight.

  6. As to the contest at hand, I mentioned to my seat mate early in second half that the Cards just weren’t playing with any grit. The defense was loose. The passes were soft. They just didn’t have that crispness, that attitude, that in-your-face presence. When it appeared a few minutes later, they were off to the races. Sometimes it takes an asshole like The Rick to just put the fear of God into a player. Apparently David used some of that last night, I hope he keeps it up.

  7. I agree with Ken; starting with the recruit The Rick brought in from Memphis there has been negative after negative until now our basketball program is looking at the needle. You add in the cost of the ticket, cost of food and drink the seeming consent blaring of commercials and the lack of effort on behave of the team it has become almost too much for a number of us. In times past any travel was scheduled around the Cards playing. Not any more.

  8. Wow. I m glad I didn’t read any of these posts before I went to the IU game today. Heck, i might not have even gone. (Sarcasm).

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