Louisville CardFile: Albany

What you see is what you get with this year’s University of Louisville Cardinals.

Last late night’s two point victory over Albany is this ’17-’18 season in microcosm.

And, on this the morning of the darkest day of the year, taking all factors into consideration, despite how the escape appears on its face, I, for one, am not as disheartened as I expected to be, or as much as maybe I should be.

It was a night when the defending national champion North Carolina Tar Heels fell in the DeanDome to Wofford, ranked #196 by Ken Pomeroy coming in.

It was a night when the Great Danes, whose coach joked that VJ King is taller than his center, were +14 on the offensive glass, and +10 in the paint.

It was a night when Louisville was outscored in second chance points, 13-0.

It was a night when the Cards, who coming in were hitting an almost record setting 78% of their free throws on the season, netted only 13 of 21, missing 5 of 6 in the last three and a half minutes.

It was a night when Deng Adel, yet again out of position defensively, with Cards up a deuce, got away with fouling a three point shooter right before the buzzer.

It was a night when the Cards played steadily and with focus, building a double digit advantage, until it went on a 7:33, 1/13 FG drought to fall behind 62-65 with 3:55 to play.

It was a night when the Grinch was poised to steal Christmas.

But. The. Cardinals. Still. Won.

And that is not to be discounted.

For, unlike the Salukis of Southern Illinois, Will Brown’s well-coached and disciplined Albany Great Danes, the Dance-worthy favorites to win the sturdier than you think America East, are not dogs. Metaphorically speaking, that is.

U of L steadied, dug deep, survived.

 * * * * *

There are several reasons why.

Ray Spalding, for one.

He had one of those games where he tried to do too much and acted foolishly on the defensive end. He committed his 3d foul on the Cards’ fourth possession after intermission, and had to sit. He returned to the hardwood at 10:12, and was whistled for his 4th foul only :47 seconds later, and returned to the pine forthwith.

He reentered at 5:24, just after the Cardinals relinquished the lead.

Then he grabbed the battle by the short and curlies.

RS ended that almost fatal U of L drought with a deuce at 2:17 to cut the disadvantage to 64-65.

With just two ticks of the clock under 2:00 — Thank you, Ticktockius, Greek God of Timekeeping — Spalding executed the play of the game, what has been dubbed through the years as the Turning Point.

He deflected a pass near mid court which went out of bounds. After review, the Cards were granted possession.

Spalding’s jump hook seconds later gave the Cards a 66-65 lead. Which they would not lose, despite the sphincter-tightening 1:40 left to play.

Because Ryan McMahon, whose game is turning out to be way more complete than the faithful might have ever hoped for, nailed a contested trey after U of L gained possession on a jump ball situation. 69-65.

And, because Louisville survived Darius Perry’s Terry Howard moment with :10 till the buzzer, when the rookie converted the front end, but then missed his only FT of the season.

And, because, earlier in the second half, when disgusted David Padgett called a timeout at 14:21 after U of L had given up four straight and Deng Adel had just thrown it away, the maturing coach coached.

He inserted McMahon, who splashed a bomb on a called and well-executed set. The Cards stole the rock and Q drained a threeball. (The official box gives that steal to Mahmoud, my notes read “RM.”) Next trip, Snider spun to the hoop for a +1 and an 11 point lead.

 * * * * *

Despite the Cards’ woes on the boards — Get used to it, kids, this is simply not a very good rebounding team — Anas Mahmoud went to the glass. In addition to his 9 blocks, he snared 7 boards, 6 in the 2d.

Other notable numbers:

Dwayne Sutton busted his hump for 9 rebounds.

McMahon was 5/8 beyond the arc.

Malik Williams grabbed four caroms in only 6 minutes of action before he tweaked his ankle.

Q led scoring with 19 on 5/7, 6/7 marksmanship, and delivered 4 assists. And no turnovers.

The Cardinals only gave it away 7 times as a team.

Next, from the WAC, Dan Majerle’s Grand Canyon Antelopes.

— Seedy K

4 thoughts on “Louisville CardFile: Albany

  1. Deng and King fear rebounding like the last son of Krypton fears kryptonite. Until Lois Lane, Jimmy White, CDP—or somebody –figures out how to cure this phobia/weakness we are going to be a step above garbage. I can’t tell you how many times last night that a missed Dane shot clanged off the rim and more often than not our wings would either stand and watch or take a step down the floor for that elusive fast break that rarely, if ever, happens when the defenders don’t get the board.

    I never thought I would say this, but Ray is the only hope we got right now. Somebody go to the boards. If not, McMONEY and Sutton need to start….

  2. being out of town, I could only hear the game on radio. It sounds like VJ was at least trying to be a player and not just a scorer (see post on Card Chronicle) as he evidently picked up one foul going for an offensive board which I would applaud. It sounded as if Deng is still intent on being a scorer and not a player. It sounded like Coach Padgett is in game coaching well, but has yet to be able to influence Pitino-coached for two seasons and this past summer Adel to understand the value of being a player. Being seen by the public on TV during the last weekend of the basketball season (Final 4 time) has enhanced the market value of players at draft time, regardless of points per game..

  3. Gentlemen, the Derby City Duo, plus Money McMahon (nice, Seedy), pulled this one out. Ray’s shot at approx. 1:50 remaining was critical; his focus is great. His fouls… not.

    McMahon’s last trey took big onions. I cringed when he shot it… Snider’s marksmanship continues to marvel. Still think Ray is the best on the team. McMahon much more valuable, for a whole game, that DA. (If I’m an NBA scout, I pass on the Cards.)

    Kudos to CDP; he had them playing inspired defense for much of the game, pressing full court. He’s learning a lot (and sadly, it sounds like they’re shopping for a marquee name. Not David.) Albany was a well conditioned squad. And a darned good team. They eat glass.

    Our destiny is being written before our eyes. The game against UK is gonna be UGLY.

    Our friend CD said our going to the Big Dance is not a given, and I totally agree. Maybe we’ll meet the Hoyas in the NIT. That would be a conflict squared, personally. Gosh, and if my alma mater, GWU was in the mix? (Shameless plus for the hometown boyz…)

    PS—I’d love to have JTII doing our games regularly. He’s good.

  4. Wofford over NC @ The Dean Dome. Boston College over Duke. Washington over Kansas. Loyola of Florida. What we have to get used to is there are a lot of good players out there who are not Golden Arches ballers. And on a given night, teams that are not name brands can play against and beat teams that are. This team is nowhere close to being “garbage.” It’s a long way to go until March and Louisville has something you can’t teach and that’s talent. That said, there is something that this team DOESN’T have that I’m not use Coach P 1 or Coach P 2 can teach: grit and intensity. Rodney McCray had it. Chane Behanan had it. Ellis Myles had it. “Just go get the damn ball.” And they would. We don’t have ANYBODY like that. From what I see, Jordan Nwora is the closest we have who has a nose for the ball and is interested in using it and he’s on the bench most of the time. And here’s my bone to pick with Coach Padgett. Why did we not put Anas on the low post and feed him the ball all night. At 7 foot, he had at least five inches on there biggest big. When he got the ball down low, he scored. It was there all night. WTF?

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