It wasn't pretty. It may have not been what Head Coach Rick Pitino hoped for. But, it was simply good enough.
The Louisville Cardinals improved to 8-0 after defeating IUPUI Wednesday night, in front of 20,604 in the KFC YUM! Center. Senior Guard, Chris Smith, scored his 1000th point of this career, and also led the team in scoring with 19 points. However, it didn't come easy for the Cardinals, who led by just 5 at the halftime break.
"They did a good job in the 1st half, and we did not do a good job passing the basketball," A disgruntled Rick Pitino said following the game, "In the 2nd half, even though we missed a lot, we had a lot of good exchanges (offensively)."
Those "exchanges" came often in the 2nd half, when the Cards went on a 22-2 run coming out of the locker room.
Guard Russ Smith led the offensive furry with 12 pts, scoring 4 straight in the midst of a 15-0 run. Freshman Forward Chane Behanan, who had 6 points, capped the run with a steal and thundering slam. This gave the Cards a 65-45 run with just over 10 minutes left in the half. They never looked back.
"We played well in the 2nd half," Pitino said, "We started passing the ball in the 2nd half like we were supposed to"
Rick Pitino stated that he was in a 'fowl' mood and reasonably so as the Cardinals gave up 7 threes in the 1st half. However, they only conceded 2 in the 2nd, which was key to their success.
"They shot great tonight," Junior Peyton Siva said, "We did a better job in the 2nd half contesting shots."
Peyton Siva had a modest 6 points and 8 assist, but only turned the ball over once.
The Cardinals received an early Christmas gift, getting Forward Rakeem Buckles back, after suffering a torn ACL last season. Buckles saw limited action and only 4 points.
The Cardinals got great play out of Sophomore Center Gorgui Dieng- who perhaps had his best game of the season. Dieng had a double-double with 12 points and 18 rebounds on 8-8 shooting.
The Cardinals look to go 9-0, matching their best start in 5 years, when they face Fairleigh Dickerson at 4pm Saturday.
Photos Courtesy of Associated Press