Anas Mahmoud and Ray Spalding forming into problematic pair for opposition

By on February 26, 2017

By Matt Bradshaw–

In the 88-68 win over Syracuse, coach Rick Pitino played 11 different players while the Orange only used seven. By reaching into the bench, the Cardinals were able to press and tire out Jim Boeheim’s squad.

Depth is a key aspect of Louisville’s success this year. When a player is under-performing, Pitino can utilize his bench to pick up the slack.

“We haven’t had consistency on the backboards from the same players. That’s been the problem with us,” Pitino said. “But the good thing is, you’ve got enough players that you can substitute and find out who’s the guy to get the job done.”

Junior Anas Mahmoud and sophomore Ray Spalding began the season on the bench, but have both earned starting roles during the season. Earning the nod against Syracuse, Spalding recorded a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds while Mahmoud added eight points and nine rebounds.

Pitino often has Mahmoud and Spalding playing on the court at the same time.

Against the Orange, Mahmoud placed himself in the middle of the zone and attracted the attention of the low-block defenders. With Spalding awaiting on the baseline, Mahmoud found the Trinity grad near the rim for high-percentage shots once the defenders crept out to Mahmoud.

The execution of probing the Syracuse zone reminds fans of the connection Gorgui Dieng and Chane Behanan had in 2013.

Mahmoud is Louisville’s best passing front court player. The 7-footer from Cairo, Egypt has become much more comfortable in his role.

“When you play in the middle of the zone, you have to communicate because you see everything,” Mahmoud said. “You have to be vocal, and you have to clean up everybody else’s mistakes.”

Spalding’s length and athleticism creates a scoring presence around the rim and great rebounding ability.

The junior says the two have developed a relationship playing together.

“Since summer when we practiced, most of the time we were on the same team,” Mahmoud said. “That chemistry developed over time. He knows where I’m going to be and I know where he’s going to be.”

Photo by Laurel Slaughter / The Louisville Cardinal

About Matt Bradshaw

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Anas Mahmoud and Ray Spalding forming into problematic pair for opposition • The Louisville Cardinal – Kentucky News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *