By Haley O’ Shaugnessy–
If fans would like to compare last year’s basketball team with this year’s squad, the South Florida game is a perfect constant for comparison. Last year, the Cardinals battled the Bulls on Senior Night at home. After being out-rebounded and outplayed, USF took the win home with them.
Saying that this year’s game was different would be an understatement. Louisville came out strong, playing the type of defense that the number three team in the nation should play. Pitino was extremely happy with that end of the court. He said:
“They came out the entire evening and played unbelievable defense; the defense we’ve been waiting for and we wanted to see. The guys did a tremendous job tonight.”
Who to credit with the best play of the game would be tough – tougher than Louisville’s 2-3 zone that was played Saturday night, which held the Bulls to 38 points. That is the lowest amount that USF has scored in Big East play ever.
But player of the game has to be awarded to somebody, and perhaps that somebody should be Chane Behanan. Behanan was not even supposed to play due to a sprained ankle, yet he managed to not only get in 18 minutes, but also grab 12 rebounds in the process.
Behanan said, “I was a little nervous, because, you know, that’s my worst fear, twisting my ankle.”
Or maybe player of the game should go to Gorgui Dieng, who had his third double-double (12 pt and 16 rebounds) since coming back from a wrist injury.
Although both made numbers impressive coming off injuries, the verdict here of player that made the game lies with Peyton Siva. The senior had 17 points and three steals, flying past the 1,000-point mark in his collegiate career. Siva is the 64th to join the 1,000-point club in Louisville basketball history.
Siva said, “It’s an honor to be a part of Louisville history and a part of that club… It’s a major accomplishment.”
Hopefully, this will just be the beginning of the major accomplishments for U of L basketball this season.
Photo: Tricia Stern/The Louisville Cardinal