Snider, Mitchell lead U of L to championship of Battle 4 Atlantis

By on November 24, 2016

By Dalton Ray–

After an overtime win in game one, Louisville downed Wichita State 62-52 in game two of the Battle 4 Atlantis. Tenth-ranked Louisville (5-0) now moves to the tournament’s championship game.

Leading the Cardinals, Quentin Snider and Donovan Mitchell pitched in 14 points each. VJ King scored 10 points, with six coming at the free-throw line. The three combined for 12-for-36 shooting from the field. Deng Adel added 11 points before fouling out.

Anas Mahmoud and Ray Spalding were forced into action due to foul trouble of Jaylen Johnson and Mangok Mathiang. Mahmoud and Spalding totaled nine points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks in 56 minutes. Johnson and Mathiang played 20 minutes combined and contributed two points and eight rebounds.

The biggest difference-maker in the game came at the free-throw line and on the boards. Louisville out-rebounded WSU 46-33 and knocked down 73 percent of their free throws, compared to Wichita’s 55 percent.

Getting things started for U of L, Adel knocked down a three off Johnson’s offensive rebound. After the Shockers tied the game at six, Louisville went on a 14-2 run. At the 10:45 mark of the first half, the Cards led 20-8. WSU used a 7-0 run of their own to cut into the lead. The Cardinals held a 33-17 lead entering halftime.

Adel led all scorers with nine at the break as he knocked down three 3-pointers. Foul trouble plagued the Cards in the first half as Mathiang, Deng and Johnson all committed two a piece.

Starting the second half, Deng, Johnson and Mathiang committed their third foul in the first 60 seconds. Over the next six minutes, the team exchanged blows. With 14 minutes remaining, Louisville led 43-27.

The Cardinals began giving the Shockers space on the 3-point line and Wichita made U of L pay. WSU drained three straight threes, pulling the game into single digits.

The length of Mahmoud and Spalding hurt the Shockers on the board and gave Louisville extra possessions offensively. U of L shot poorly but their rebounding gave them life.

WSU’s Shaquille Morris provided energy for the Shockers in the second half. Morris knocked down tough post shots and fought for rebounds. After Morris’ layup off a tipped pass, the Cardinals led 46-40.

Shaking off a poor shooting half, Snider began to carry the Cards offensively. After back-to-back jump shots from the Snider, Louisville extended their lead back to 10.

The Shockers threatened Louisville when they played at their pace and worked the ball around. But the pressing defense forced Wichita to speed up their offensive tempo. On the opposite side, Louisville held the ball late into the shot clock.

Back-to-back threes from Mitchell put Louisville ahead 58-46. Spalding and Mahmoud both gave Rick Pitino great minutes off the bench in place of Mathiang and Johnson. Hauling in four offensive rebounds in the second half, the two gave Louisville the extra possessions they needed. The pair also added four blocks.

Wichita didn’t quit fighting, as they cut the deficit to single digits again with two minutes remaining.

Spalding’s offensive rebound led to VJ King knocking down two free throws. The Shockers only took two shots over the remainder of the game and missed both. Mitchell’s eighth rebound of the night sealed the game for U of L. Over the final 10 minutes, Snider and Mitchell totaled 10 of Louisville’s last 16 points.

The Cardinals now face No. 20 Baylor (5-0) in the championship game of the Battle 4 Atlantis. The Bears defeated VCU and No. 24 Michigan State during the first two rounds.

Photo by Nancy Hanner / The Louisville Cardinal

About Dalton Ray

Sports editor (2016-18) that is technically award winning.

Email: dray@louisvillecardinal.com

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