What I would point out however to those fans in blue, those poor bereaved souls left with this loss indelibly etched in their brain as the end of the calendar draws nigh, is that 11 of those Cardinal charity points came in the last minute of the game, when Memphis State was fouling on purpose in an attempt to catch up.
The Cards missed only one of 12 in the final minute of the game, hitting their last 11 in a row.
Truth be told, U of L hit 21 of 22 free throws in the last ten minutes of the contest. Kevin Ware was perfect on a +1. Silent L knocked down his 2 attempts. So too, Luke Hancock and Chane Behanan. Russ Smith drained all 8 of his. Only Peyton Siva was less than perfect. He canned 5 of his 6 tries. Peyton, Peyton, get with the plan, son.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am of the opinion that 21 of 22 from the charity stripe in the last quarter of a heated road game against a hated long time rival is a championship-worthy statistic.
So I shall declare.
* * * * *
Tell me true, Cardinal fans. There were two moments during the first half when you were trying to find the mind set to accept defeat, to rationalize that a tough road game in December against a Top 30 rival, even if lost, would bode well come March and April. Right?
Down 6-25 midway through the first half, you were praying to Kukulcan, the Mayan God in charge of rain, looking for some element to dampen the Memphis State parade. Correct?
Then when Russ Smith went down in front of the Tigers bench and had to be hauled off the hardwood, unable to put any weight on one foot, you were not only praying to Kinich Ahau, the Mayan Sun God to help ‘Diculous heal, but you had taken your lucky Cardinal mojo from the TV stand and were dipping it in traditional Mayan mole sauce to aid the process. Did I nail it or what?
But Louisville team, with the aid of some eerily friendly calls on the road, and steely perseverance, rallied, held steady and prevailed.
This definitely gets marked in the Good Win category.
A really good win.
* * * * *
Chane Behanan’s 22 points led the Card scorers.
Louisville got 19 points, 5 rebounds, three assists and 4 steals at the #3 spot. Both Luke Hancock and Wayne Blackshear are trending upward.
Peyton Siva — ho hum — tallied 19 points, with 7 assists and 4 rebounds.
On a bad wheel, Russ Smith also scored 19 points with four assists and only one turnover.
Silent L had 6 big boards, canned 3 of 4 at the line and played solid D underneath.
As a team, the Cardinals turned 24 Memphis State turnovers into 29 points.
* * * * *
All of which is to say that beating Memphis State is about as much regular season fun as you can have as a Cardinal fan.
* * * * *
During one of the timeouts, my gang clicked over to Butler/ IU game where it was halftime. Tim Brando was talking about the coroner’s report on the Big East’s death. That the 7 hoops-only schools were officially out.
This is of course not news, but I mention it for this reason. Up for auction: One Big East issued Note Pad, Slightly Used. It contains my notes from yesterday’s W over Memphis State. As well as scribbles taken during the UConn football game, and the press conferences of Charlie Strong and Tom Jurich on the day Strong confirmed he was staying at U of L.
Only about 20% of the Note Pad have been used. The cover contains the official Big East conference trademark, the league address and internet connections. On the back are the 2012 Big East Football Contacts. It is in Excellent to Prime condition.
You can have this elegant and important artifact in your library. Also, it would make a lovely gift for the big Big East fan in your family.
This priceless item is sure to go fast. Bid now and avoid the traffic jam on Shelbyville Road by the malls.
– Seedy K