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    Louisville Basketball Thunders Over Marshall 85-67
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    The University of Louisville basketball Cardinals (3-0) played their second game of the Global Sports Showcase against the Marshall Thundering Herd (3-1) at the KFC Yum! Center on Friday. The Cards didn’t cruise like they did in the first game against Jacksonville State. Instead they toughed out their third win 85-67.

    It was the second of six straight home games for the Cardinals. It was also their second in the Showcase which is a five team round robin event at various locations. Marshall already owned two victories in the event. Both teams have beaten Jacksonville State and Louisville’s next opponent, Savannah State, has already tasted defeat at the hands of the Thundering Herd.

    Louisville expected to be tested by Marshall. Coach Dan D’Antoni’s name shouldn’t be unfamiliar. His brother Mike coaches at the NBA level. He led the Los Angeles Lakers the last two years and he ran the Phoenix Suns before that. A call to his brother was probably in order as he went to face the superior fire power of the Cardinals.

    The Thundering Herd was also quite a bit smaller than Louisville. Their tallest starter is 6’6” which forces Marshall to go with an unusual 3 forward, 2 guard line up. Louisville countered with 6’8” future NBAer Montrezl Harrell and 6’10” Chinanu Onuaku hitting the court first. And that’s not to speak of the two seven foot freshmen on the bench.

    So did D’Antoni make the call? Judging by how slow the Cardinals started, perhaps he got some help in attacking Louisville’s press. The Herd did so effectively for about the half of the first period.

    Then Wayne Blackshear decided to take over the game. He ran the break, finished with dunks and played smothering defense which included a chase that spanned the length of the court where he blocked a sure dunk for Marshall. It brought the crowd to life and put a smile on Coach Rick Pitino’s face. He finished the first half with 12 points. This was the Wayne Blackshear we were promised.

    Not to be outdone, Terry Rozier had a good first half as well with 10 points. Harrell and Chris Jones put in 6 apiece. One problem that Pitino didn’t like was that no one hit a three in the first half. In 10 attempts, nothing fell. Still, when the Cards got their defense together, they shut down Marshall and entered the break with a 41-27 lead.

    In the second half, the Herd adjusted and checked off one goal: get Harrell into foul trouble. Without his presence, Marshall had a better chance. Or so they thought. Jones just took control of the game from his point guard position. He penetrated, passed, scored and otherwise did the things you expect from your senior leader. He ended up leading all scorers with 19.

    Rozier quietly had another good point showing with 17 as Louisville’s backcourt continues to show that they will be a force to be reckoned with. First half highlight reel, Blackshear, finished with 16.

    David Levitch got significant playing time again and brought the crowd out of their seats when he hit a three point jumper. The ovation was a deafening as the earlier Blackshear alley-oop.

    It wasn’t like Marshall didn’t have their chances, including a run that contained 4 straight three point baskets. That flurry was kind to them, but otherwise shooting was as cold as the temperature at street level at Second and Main. Both teams laid a wall of bricks from the free throw line, too.

    So in the end, the big star for the Cardinals was team defense. Louisville poorly at 38.6%. Marshall shot even worse at 36.5%. The other thing the defense did was limit the number of shots the Herd got off: 63 as opposed to Louisville’s 70. The Cards also shot a smidgen better from the free throw line but they also got there more often, too.

    Fans hope the Louisville finds its shooting touch when they file back into the KFC Yum! Center on Monday at 7 when the Cards take on Savannah State.

    Photos by: Tim Girton/Louisville.com

    Tim Girton's picture

    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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