U of L CardFile: Texas

The kid just made the shot.

Guarded closely, falling backward, falling sideways out of balance, he found the net.

It happens.

Skyy Clark could not have guarded Max Abmas any better than he did. The Longhorn didn’t get by him to the rim. The Longhorn didn’t draw a foul. The Longhorn had to go MIchael Jordan to net the game winner.

It happens, damn it.

Texas 81, Louisville 80.

 * * * * *

I would never have thought for a moment that I’d be writing this Sunday evening about “but for” moments.

Not before tipoff.

Not when Texas ran out to a 16-7 lead.

Not after the Cardinals turned it over thrice in the last 1:38 of the opening half. Each resulting in a Texas tally, and three point intermission deficit.

Nor with 6:06 to play, when the Cardinals were down 64-65, but were at the charity stripe where they’d previously netted 21 of 22 attempts. When Ty-Laur Johnson missed both of his, but Tre White grabbed the board and was fouled. But made only one of his freebies to simply knot the game at 65, instead of inching ahead.

Nor on the several occasions late when the Burnt Orange grabbed their own missed FTs, getting second chances and converting.

Nor after a game when U of L was -12 on points off turnovers.

Nor after a game when U of L was -18 points in the paint, and -12 on fast break points.

Nor after a game when Karl Ravich and Jay Williams kept emphasizing that Brandon Huntley-Hatfield fouling out was the difference.*

(Yes, Kadin Shedrick simply slipped. The zebras missed the call. It happens.)

*Had any Cardinal fan a week ago truly believed the loss of B H-H would have been the proximate reason for an L, Mental Inquest Warrants would have been suggested.

The kid just made the shot.

It happens.

 * * * * *

Of course, U of L’s last possession was disappointing in extremis.

But if Louisville doesn’t execute the exquisitely designed inbounds play at 2:04, resulting in a Skyy Clark trey, or if Clark doesn’t bullseye another triple at 1:22 they would have never been up with :37 to play.

All those negative stat lines, all those coulda woulda shoulda moments, yet U of L fell because a noted scorer scored when checked as closely as he could have been.

 * * * * *

Obviously this was the best Cardinal performance under Kenny Payne.

The best performance by the Cardinals really since that W over Maryland in the Bahamas under Mike Pegues in November ’21.

This was the first sign of the KP Era of something that resembles University of Louisville basketball.

Louisville. was focused.

Louisville hustled.

Louisville went tit for tat with a legit Top 20 outfit.

The kid just made the shot.

It happens.

 * * * * *

Brandon Huntley-Hatfield was +7. He scored 11, grabbed 9 rebounds.

Tre White and Skyy Clark both scored 20 Both hit better than 50% from the field, and together were 5/9 frm beyond the arc, and a combined 9/11 at the FT line.

Ty-Laur Johnson had 6 assists, and was 10/12 on FTs.

U of L as a team was 27/31 at the line. 87%. +11. That’s a sign of a team ready to play, a team that wasn’t going to back down.

 * * * * *

I shall make one declaration, the same one I’d have made had Abmas shot rimmed out.

The fellow writing these words, for the first time in a long while, is proud of the Louisville Cardinals.

They came to play. And play they did.

The kid made the shot.

It happens.

— c d kaplan



2 thoughts on “U of L CardFile: Texas

  1. Today was the first chance I had to see the men’s team in action this season. I kept wondering what everybody has been complaining about up to this point.

    1. Great game, great hustle and forever in perpetuity, the ghost of US Reed will haunt the Cards (See Arkansas v Louisville 1981 2nd Round NCAA Game) to be conjured up without notice to reek heartache on Cardinal Nation.
      Bless their hearts for all they did but the flaws were many and patent. The sun has not yet risen upon the “darkest hour”. Go Cards beat the beatable Hoosiers. This game will tell us a lot.

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