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    Louisville Basketball Outshines Florida State 81-59
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    With the new theme of “moving on,” the 17th ranked University of Louisville basketball Cardinals (23-6, 11-5 ACC) visited the Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Florida to go into an ACC matchup with Florida State (15-15, 7-10). With some practice with their new line up, the Cards looked competitive. Remember, when they played Georgia Tech there was no time to process anything. With 4 days under their belt Louisville smashed the Seminoles 81-59.

    Outside this paragraph, there will be no mention of Chris Jones and the brouhaha surrounding that situation. To find out more about that, see the series of articles by Josh Cook. He covers the on-going litigation in detail. The Cards entire season has been written off by the national media so let’s watch the team to see if they’re right.

    The Cardinal defense came out ready to play. The offense did, too, but the accuracy wasn’t there yet. By the first TV timeout, Louisville led 4-0. Florida State played a bothered style. They couldn’t get open, made turnovers and gave the Cards easy shots, even if most of those shots didn’t fall.

    A Quentin Snider to Montrezl Harrell half court alley-oop was one of those SportsCenter moments and extended the Seminole scoring drought to 6 minutes. A few minutes later, Harrell went to the bench after a foul seemed to injure his eye.

    You could see the Cards trying to get Terry Rozier and Wayne Blackshear going on offense. Several plays ran to them and none of the shots were bad, per se. They just didn’t go down. You could also see Louisville trying to score in transition, where the Seminoles struggle.

    Coach Rick Pitino got a warning from the officials at 9:30 to go in the first half. Touchy. After that, Blackshear was fouled by two of the Florida State seven footers. No call. Perhaps it’s stuff like that that Pitino was helpfully pointing out. And he was probably using some, shall we say, colorful language.

    To get some offense, Pitino turned to the unlikely Anton Gill who hit 2 triples and a long two before fouls put him on the bench. The smart thing Gill did was exploit the scouting sheet on Louisville that says they don’t get points from the bench. The Seminoles played off him so Gill just launched his shots.

    The Cards used the bench the stretch the lead to 10 to shot the way 36-26. Good news for Louisville who have been decried for spending several games without scoring 20 points in a half. 11 points off the the bench was good, as well. Rozier, the Louisville leading scorer, didn’t  score in the first half but dished 4 assists and played his trademark defense.

    Going into the second half, the Cardinals would have to keep the Seminoles off the glass and continue to limit the 7 footers and their opportunities in the lane. They would also help themselves more by knocking down free throws. They were 3 of 7 in the first half. And get Rozier going.

    So, in saying that, Rozier’s first shot of the second half was a made three. That’ll usually do it but this time around, it didn’t. Was it an off game? Was it Florida State’s defense? Probably a little of both. Stop the top guy and you have a better chance to win. What the Seminoles couldn’t do is limit his vision. Rozier kept completing assists.

    Frustration entered into the Florida State defense. When Rozier got free for an uncontested layup, he was undercut and that resulted in a Flagrant 1 technical foul. Shortly after that as he went for a rebound he took a shot in the mouth with all the bodies flying around. Rozier’s tough, though, and kept right on playing.

    And if Rozier couldn’t quite get hot, Blackshear played up to his potential both inside and from the arc. In recent games it’s been pretty well documented that Pitino has challenged Blackshear to drive toward the hoop and it’s been working, particularly against the Seminoles. After he blitzed them by going inside, he stepped behind the three point line and drilled shots from there, too.

    By the end of the game, Blackshear poured in 18 points before fouling out. Harrell knocked down 18. Gill was a bright spot with perfect shooting 5 of 5, including 4 threes, before he also fouled out. Rosier couldn’t be stopped either, though it was a tough 10 points but he also dished 9 assists. Mangok Mathiang grabbed 9 rebounds against 6 points.

    Final score: Louisville 81-59 over Florida State. Next for Louisville a two game home stand against Notre Dame and Virginia. The first of those is Wednesday night at the KFC Yum! Center. It’s a 7pm tip.

    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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