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    Louisville Basketball Endures the Hack-A-Harrell Defense, beats Cleveland State
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    The 5th ranked University of Louisville basketball Cardinals (5-0) completed their participation the the Global Sports Showcase last night with a 45-33 victory over the Cleveland State Vikings (2-3) Friday night. The game marked the fourth time in a row that the Cards have played at home with two more to go before the team leaves the friendly confines of the KFC Yum! Center.

    Hall of Fame Head Coach Rick Pitino notched his 700th collegiate victory. Athletic Director Tom Jurich had a video piece ready and a plaque to help the coach celebrate. Rather than bathe in the accolades, he gave all the credit to his players, especially last year’s team.

    The win wasn’t quite the beat down that the Cardinals delivered Monday to Savannah State. In that game, there was a serious threat to keep SSU scoreless for the entire first half. In fact, the fans gave a collected “aww” when they scored for the very first time on a free throw. Still, they only scored 7 points before halftime.

    The scouting sheet said that Louisville would have to guard the perimeter well. CSU has gone 53 straight games hitting least 3 three-pointers and 19 straight with at least five triples. They had four by halftime. That’s all they would get.

    There was never any danger of a shut out in this one. The Cardinals defense was up to snuff but the offense struggled and never got on track during the first stanza. The saving grace was that they didn’t let the Vikings get too far into it. But defense would have to continue and it did.

    Montrezl Harrell was frustrated going into the break and made his displeasure known to the referees. He was trying to bring attention to the Hack-A-Harrell style CSU played inside. Pitino told him not to get rattled because the officials were calling the game the same way on both sides. The Cards knew it was coming, but having it happen in real time got them off their offensive game plan.

    At halftime, leading 26-22, the coaching staff had some adjustments to do. After the game, Pitino said that they knew Cleveland State would play it that way. In a game without Mangok Mathiang (sprained ankle), points were not coming from the center position.

    The second half would be even more hard fought. There were no more three balls for the Vikings and the few times they got to the free throw line, they missed most of them. Meanwhile, due to the hacking defense, Louisville got to the stripe more often and knocked down a few more as well.

    Harrell ended up playing the entire 40 minutes and came away with 15 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. He also did not commit a personal foul the entire time though there were opportunities and provocation.

    Chris Jones was another steady hand from his point guard position, scoring 11 points. He was another player that had to endure the bullying from Cleveland State.

    Terry Rozier put in 9 points and 11 rebounds. Chinanu Onuaku had 9 rebounds and 7 blocked shots. The entire Louisville team blocked 11 shots.

    The Cards didn’t feel comfortable until about 5 minutes left when they finally started to pull away. Next for Louisville is Ohio State on December 2nd for a late 9:30 start.

    Photos by: Tim Girton/

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    About Tim Girton

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

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