Louisville Card File: Villanova

That this was not a vintage Jay Wright Villanova squad that visited the Yum! last evening  is of little consequence, Louisville’s ten point victory was huge.

The visitors outscored U of L 40-22 in the paint. No problem.

The Wildcats also had more second chance points, and more points off turnovers. No problem.

Sparkplug Russ Smith fouled out, after making a key second half bucket, a left handed one at that. (More about that 5th foul later.) Starting to reach his potential, Chane Behanan (18/7) fouled out. No problem.

Gorgui Dieng played the last nine minutes plus with four fouls. No problem. Another double double (12/13). Plus 3 assists and a couple of swats. He hit all four of his important free throws late. Speaking of those freebies . . .

. . . with 13:30 left, the Cards stood a dismal 6/13 at the charity stripe. (Against Nova’s 11/14). No problem. U of L hit 18 of its last 21 free throws. Big.

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The oft criticized Peyton Siva gets his own  section here.

5 assists and but a single turnover. Four boards. 16 points, including 8 on four pull up 18 foot jumpers. Sweet.

His steady hand at the throttle kept Louisville poised during its mature stretch run.

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We loved Swop’s trey from the corner with 1:09 to play and the shot clock running out, right?

Correctamundo!

If you haven’t already heard, for the season he was 1/10 from beyond the arc before last night’s nail in the coffin.

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For me, the game’s key sequence started during the last media timeout with 3:41 left.

The Kroger crew had slipped back into their cave to knit more t-shirts. The Galactic Champion Ladybirds had danced off into the night. And the crowd went old school.

“Let’s Go U of L . . . Let’s Go U of L . . . Let’s Go U of L.” It was my favorite cheer when I started attending Cardinal games in the early 50s. It remains my favorite Cardinal cheer today.

Kyle Kuric hit two free throws out of the timeout, putting U of L up 71-65. Nova scored. But Louisville came right back. Siva hit his fourth jumper of the night to push the lead back to 6.

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After a couple of Villanova offensive rebounds over Cardinals, I turned to Rick Cushing and asked, “Don’t these kids ever block out anymore?”

Immediately thereafter, Russ Smith put his butt on a Wildcat after a shot at the defensive end. The ball bounded over their heads. Smith got the ball. Whistle. Fifth foul on Smith.

So much for doing it the right way.

* * * * *

The game turned in the Cardinals’ favor in the 2d half when they started to press full court.

Just sayin.

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Despite the recent wobbly play of the Cards, they remain among the national leaders in 2 statistical categories.

They are fourth in the nation is steals/ game at 9.9 spg. And they have the 6th best field goal % defensive number at 37.2%.

* * * * *

Had a nice chat with ESPN commentator Len Elmore before the game in the press room.

We have at least one thing in common, and it’s not the ability to hit the boards.

We’re both former lawyers, former prosecutors. Elmore is a Harvard Law grad. He was in the class right ahead of our president. He spent his years practicing as a Brooklyn prosecutor, working under Elizabeth Holtzman. Most of the time was spent prosecuting rogue cops as part of a special task force.

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Next up, a visit to Seton Hall.

Kevin Willard’s club lost by 13 at home last night to Notre Dame.

– Seedy K

2 Comments

  1. cbcard
    Posted January 27, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Swop was due. In 09-10 he was about a 33% shooter from 3Land.

  2. bob
    Posted January 27, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Great win!

    We did start to come back when we starting pressing and stop grabbing. The old Hickerson cheer helped.

    A lot of things went against us this game but Siva did not turn the ball over. Maybe his best game of the season?

    Now if Cris Smith will stop shooting off the dribble ( he kept us in the game when he was squared up )and Bennan stop grabbing from 75 feet—–Watch Out!!!!

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