Louisville Card File: College of Charleston

dunkcardAt the second to last media timeout, with 7:36 to play, I turned to any of the press wags sitting nearby who were willing to listen to the rantings of a guy that’s been at it way too long and opined, “I’ve seen this game before. It’s going down to the last possession.”

At 6:58 CofC’s blonde tressed Canyon Berry canned a jumper. With 2:43 on the clock, the visitor’s Joe Chealy scored a deuce, then with :20 on the clock, tallied a FT.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals covered that Cougar five spot with a double deuce.

Let me express my apologies to my cohorts for my negativitude. Though it does confirm that I’m in mid season form, despite the earliest Cardinal regular season opener ever.

That kickin’ it up a notch 22-5 run capped a more than adequate 70-48 W over Dough Wojcik’s really well coached club.

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One thing I really liked about the game was that The Rick stuck with Wayne Blackshear in the second half. Actually for the whole game.

WB notched 38 minutes of PT, playing, I believe, the entire second half.

The reason I commend the kid and the coach is this. Blackshear missed his first 11 shots. Short jumpers. Lay ups. Break away bunnies. Trey balls. But he never stopped playing. And The Rick kept encouraging him.

WB hit his first deuce with 9:06 to play. In that final quarter of the tilt, after that first tally, he slammed a dunk on a Russ Smith assist, for a nine point Card lead, causing a CofC timeout. Then had a steal immediately after play resumed. Soon thereafter, he grabbed an offensive board and converted two FTs. Then canned a three, giving the Cards a 16 point advantage.

11 points. 6 rebounds. 2 steals. 2 blocks.

On an off night.

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Chris Jones was 5/13 from the field. But had 6 boards and 5 assists.

Russ Smith was 7/17 from the field, 6/6 at the line and had 5 assists.

With just under two minutes to play and an eighteen point advantage, the Cards gained possession after a Barry turnover, and an SVT offensive board of a missed Russ Smith 3, Jones fired up a Juco Treyball with :30 still left on the shot clock. Then he stole the ball from the visitors. Five seconds later, Smith fired — and hit — another unnecessary trey, when holding the ball a bit,killing some clock, might have been advised.

Which is to observe that russdiculousness is still about, though the irrepressible Smith is doing his best to be a playmaker. And that his eminently talented running partner is also prone to no no no yes types of plays.

What’s the Chris Jones equivalent of russdiculous?

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I stand by my belief that SVT is a solid 8-10 minute relief guy and not much more.

That said, he was all over the place at crunch time, during U of L’s game ending surge. Steals. Rebounds. Keeping possessions alive.

Mango proved he does possess potential. 7 points. 10 boards. His D became more effective as the afternoon wore on. He displayed a palpable increase in confidence as the game progressed. He’s got a long way to go.

Silent L was steady with 10 points and 8 rebounds.

It will be awhile before I can say, “Okay, we don’t miss Gorgui anymore.”

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Bottom line: Louisville beat a better than average opening foe by 22, without three players — Chane Behanan, Luke Hancock and Kevin Ware — who are destined to be major contributors.

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The veteran officiating crew — Ted Valentine, who will call the offensive foul with impunity, Tony Chiazza and Mike Stuart — were not excessively whistle happy. The called 36 fouls, which seemed about right.

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Oh yeah, U of L only turned it over three times the whole game.


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Now for the peripheral Off the Court stuff:

1) The student section showed its youth and a distinct lack of hoops history. They made fun of Canyon Barry, when he shot his FTs underhanded. Which, student body I’m talkin’ to you, is the way most everybody shot them back in the day. Okay, way back in the day. In your grandfather’s day. But the last guy who did it happened to be Barry’s dad, Rick, who is one of pro basketball’s all-time leading scorers. And, FYI, all-time U of L great Charlie Tyra shot his charity tosses underhanded.

2) There’s way too much Pitino talk talk in the new intro video, which was, frankly, seriously underwhelming.

3) Shouldn’t the three championship banners be bigger than all the others, hanging from the rafters?

4) Justin Ruffin’s version of the national anthem on the saxophone was smokin’ hot, soulful and reverent.

5) And a tip of the hat to loyal reader SmartGuy, who in a text pointed out the irony of one of those incessant and invasive timeout commercials. “The Kroger Krew has mini balls.” Really?

– Seedy K

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