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    Father Spanks Son, Louisville Basketball Beats Minnesota 81-68
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    The University of Louisville basketball Cardinals (1-0) traveled to U.S. Air Station Borinquen, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico to open the season against Minnesota (0-1) in the 3rd Annual Armed Forces Classic. The Cards played well enough defensively to earn the 81-68 victory.

    Inside a Coast Guard hanger it was Petino vs. Petino, Rick vs. Richard, and that’s the most hyped aspect of the match up. It also served as the beginning of the 101st men’s basketball season for the Cards. And a chance to see Montrezl Harrell’s probable final season in red. He’s considered a lottery choice for next season’s NBA draft.

    For Minnesota, they’re coming off their best season ever. Pitino the younger guided the Golden Gophers to a school record 25 win season and the NIT championship. Four starters return from that team.

    The Cards came out in themed red white and blue uniforms. The phrase Semper Paratus replaced names on the back of the jerseys. It means “always ready” which is the motto of the Coast Guard.

    They had to make sure they were ready for the heat. The hanger was open and it was quite humid causing play stoppage to make sure no one was hurt from the dripping sweat and condensation on the court.

    Harrell started the scoring with a three. Yeah, the king of the dunk has developed some range. He would add two more triples throughout the evening.

    Wayne Blackshear came out aggressively, which is a good sign for future Cardinal games. The last two years, he’s been the shrinking violet of the team. This year as a senior, he’s playing for life after Louisville basketball. His night was frustrating but the potential was on display

    Two early fouls put him on the bench. One was questionable call but the second was legit and he was upset as he headed for a seat with Pitino. He came back into the game and played well but then picked up his third and that kept him in his seat for the balance of the first half.

    But Blackshear wasn’t the only one with foul troubles. The entire Minnesota team had trouble keeping the whistle from blowing. The Cards were in the bonus less than half way through the first stanza. Rick Pitino took advantage by running more and more players at the Gophers.

    The talk of Louisville’s lack of depth was rampant before the game. Against Richard’s team that didn’t seem to be a problem. Even David Levich, the Goshen product, got some time on the court. Unfortunately all he produced in the first half was three fouls.

    The Gopher defense finally found itself as the first period finally stopped a 15-2 Cardinal run. Nonetheless, Louisville took a 43-30 lead into halftime. Harrell had 17 points going into the break.

    The Cards came out strong in the second half, continuing the offensive attack which was triggered by smothering defense and by the first time out, the lead was up to 20. Also by that time out, Anton Gill was on the bench with 4 fouls. That aggressive defense got Minnesota playing at a speed outside their comfort zone.

    Louisville went cold on the offensive end after building that 20 point lead as the Gophers went on an 8-0 run broken by Harrell. Who else? He followed that up with a thunderous alley-ooo dunk on a pass from Chris Jones.

    Terry Rozier showed his off season improvement to score almost as many points as Harrell. Any time the Cards needed a spark, Rozier was there to provide it with a rebound, an assist or a score.

    Andre Hollins did his best to keep the Gophers in the game, scoring 22 points, but the younger Pitino didn’t get to take home the Armed Forces Classic trophy. His team will be good and the Big Ten will not be able to write them off.

    Harrell led all scorers with a career high 30 points to go along with 7 rebounds. Rozier did his thing with 18 points and 6 rebounds. Jones finished with 13.

    Next for Louisville is a Monday night contest against Jacksonville State at the KFC Yum! Center at 7pm.

    Photo by: Tim Girton/Louisville.com

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    About Tim Girton

    Tim Girton writes about University of Louisville sports here at Louisville.com and his love for Louisville continues on his photoblog, called This Is Louisville.

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