Louisville Card File: Syracuse

When a couple of legitimately top shelf squads battle to the buzzer in a last possession, tourney-quality tilt, there are always several sequences you can look to and say, “If only . . . ”

The one I can’t shake starts after the media timeout with 7:47 to play. The one where they blasted AC/DC’s “TNT” over the public address system.

Louisville led, 58-57.

Coming out of the break, Russ Smith canned two FTs for a three point lead.

Smith perpetrated a mid-court steal from Michael Carter-Williams then a slam. 62-57.

At which juncture, the Cards could have put a head lock on the game, grabbed it by the short and curlies.

Instead it went Oi Oi Oi Oi Oi Oi Oi. (AC/DC fans, please excuse me if I didn’t type out the exact number of Ois.)

After two Orange FTs, Smith missed a 3 pointer, Luke Hancock rebounded. Luke missed the front end of one and one. Silent L grabbed the errant charity toss. Gorgui Dieng missed a jumper, got his own rebound, then missed a dunk.

Carter-Williams scored 2, cutting the lead to a digit.

Harrell then missed two free throws. Then a jumper. M C-W canned a three, then ‘Cuse talled another two.

U of L’s five point lead turned to a four point deficit, 62-66, before Smith came to the rescue with a couple free throws.

Instead of taking charge of the game, Louisville let Syracuse back in it.

Oi, Oi, Oi, Oi, Oi . . . indeed!

* * * * *

I don’t think I need to refresh anyone’s memory about the last 1:58. U of L led by two, but failed to score, missing a shot, getting one blocked and committing 2 turnovers (which were almost a quarter of their 9 for the whole game).

Bottom line: Louisville didn’t close.

Period.

* * * * *

Now for my Earl Cox moment.

In the early 60s, Georgia Tech’s Roger Kaiser (a Hoosier by the by) led the SEC in scoring. He loved to go to his left. No, he had to go to his left when he had the rock.

Ever wily Cardinal coach Peck Hickman knew the tendency when the Ramblin’ Wreck came calling in December ’60. I forget if Peck used Howard Stacy or John Turner of Ron Rubenstein, or a combination of those Cards. But whichever one was checking Kaiser would play to Kaiser’s left. Not hedge to the right, but actually standing to his left, shutting him down for the game. Cards won.

Brandon Triche also likes to make his first move to the left. Louisville tried to hedge the Syracuse scorer to his right all night. To little avail. I recall one time it worked, Triche was forced to drive to his right late in the game, but was fouled by Blackshear.

Other than that, Triche pretty much had his way on the Yum! hardwood. Especially in the first half, when he went 7/7, including four treys.

* * * * *

Both teams hit 24 field goals. Though it took the Cards ten more shots to do it. Both drained 7 threes.

Both teams had 20 free throws.

You know where I’m going here, right?

U of L hit 13.

Need I provide the exact number drained by the Men of Orange. No, I don’t think so.

* * * * *

It was an eerily even game.

Syracuse closed. The Cards didn’t. That’s the bottom line.

* * * * *

What’s the take away here?

Both teams are legit. If Syracuse gets Southerland back, they can contend. The Cards can contend.

Here’s what’s nagging me. Louisville’s in trouble when it plays a team with big guards. Especially when its shots aren’t dropping. Louisville certainly can bring in Kevin Ware, but that adversely affects the offense. When it matters, both Russ Smith and Peyton Siva need to be on the court.

I was somewhat shocked that Louisville didn’t try to move the ball more quickly against Boeheim’s vaunted zone. The Cards probed more, at a deliberate pace. Rarely were they able to get the ball into the key, when it could be kicked to the corner or to a driver.

Other than the fact they only got 3 boards, I thought the Blackshear/ Hancock duo played moderately well. 16 points.

Louisville needs to balance out its scoring. The bigs need to stop putting it on the floor after offensive rebounds before taking it to the rim.

* * * * *

This was a disappointing loss. But far from fatal.

As good as U of L has been playing, there is so much room for improvement, they could — operative word: could — could be scary good come tournament time.

* * * * *

One record was set yesterday.

Best Version of National Anthem at a Cardinal Game. Ever.

Brotherhood Singers gospel/ doo wop rendition soared. So sweet.

– Seedy K

 

One Comment

  1. bob DeSpain
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    The players post game sound bites said it all: 1. Siva: I made a bad decision and pass.
    2. Blackshear; I should have taken it to the rim and dunked it.
    3. Gorky: I should have caught the pass and taken it straight up
    4. Chane: i got a little tight at the last

    Now if Pitino would have said I should have just given the ball to Smith; then we would have the formula to win when we play them again .

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