Basketball defeats Illinois State 69-66

By on December 4, 2012

Center, Stephan Van Treese finds his role on the team more important than ever with starter Gorgui Dieng.

By Haley O’Shaugnessy–

A 6-9 senior basketball player made all the difference against Illinois State University for the Cardinals. Sounds pretty normal for a basketball game, right? Wrong.

This was a player that was not used to being placed in important games. In fact, this was a player that almost left the University of Louisville in search of more playing time. It was a player that did not even start, but came off the bench to complete the game with eight rebounds, something Louisville has desperately needed since the loss of Gorgui Dieng to a wrist injury. The roster lists this player as Stephan Van Treese, but Louisville is starting to know him as the “Big Hustle.”

S.V.T scored only six points. Compared to Russ Smith’s 24 and Peyton Siva’s 20, it was not much, but he was more important in the game because the team fed off his monumental energy. His effort resulted in key plays that would spark the team, like forcing a turnover in the second half. The same turnover that began a six-point run for the Cardinals was just enough for the boys to tie the score. Van Treese knew this is what the team needed from him with Dieng gone. S.V.T. said,

“That’s what Coach wants out of me. I have to do that every game… It feels good. I mean, finally. I’ve been here for four years and I feel like I really haven’t done much, so I’m excited to help contribute to the team.”

Despite his contributions, it still was an uncomfortably close game. However, Coach Pitino admitted that Illinois State was not to be underestimated. He said,

“They outplayed us. We played really hard; they had answers to everything that we put at them… It’s a great win for us because we think they are a hell of a basketball team.”

Pitino also complimented his own team’s play, emphasizing that Louisville still pulled out the win, even after ISU was making over half of what they were shooting. He said,

“We have to be a pretty tough basketball team to win when the other team is shooting 52 percent.”

Coach Pitino also did not hesitate to compliment the key player of the game, S.V.T. He said,

“Stephan’s a warrior… He gave us a big lift when we needed it. It’s going to be a fight – not that it would have been an easy game, but it’s going to be a fight until we get our shotblocker (Gorgui Dieng) back. But Stephan did a fabulous job.”

Stephan Van Treese is a player that almost left the university because he did not receive much time on the court. Now, he is stepping up to fill the spot of one of the nation’s top centers, and his contributions will not go unnoticed. Pitino admitted that Louisville is lucky to have him stay. He said,

“You know, I just wanted the best for him, but we’re very, very lucky. You know, it’s funny how things turn out.”

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Photo: Nathan Gardner/The Louisville Cardinal

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