Tag Archives: men’s basketball

Photo by Austin Lassell

Kevin Ware leaving Louisville

By Annie Moore

Kevin Ware confirmed through ESPN that he is transferring to finish his college career. Ware — who gained national attention when he broke his leg in last year’s national championship run — is reportedly going somewhere closer to his family in Georgia.

Ware red-shirted this season after averaging a mere 1.7 points per game in his first nine appearances  of the season, before suffering a leg injury to the same leg that was broken the previous season.

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said “We wish Kevin godspeed.”

This is a developing story, the Louisville Cardinal will update as more information becomes available. 

Sweet 16 coverage, away and at home

Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams are headed into Sweet 16 action this weekend! The University of Louisville now stands alone as the only school to have both men’s and women’s basketball go to back-to-back Sweet 16′s. And once again, the Louisville Cardinal is your home for up to the minute coverage of all of the hoops action. We will have a coverage team at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis covering the men’s team, as well as a team at the Yum! Center covering the women. Check out louisvillecardinal.com for previews and coverage of all of the games, as well as ‘The Louisville Cardinal Inc.” on Facebook. Also follow us on Twitter ‘@theCardSports’ and ‘@TheCardinalNews’ with the hashtag ‘#CardinalBoom2014′ for live play-by-plays and extended coverage. The Louisville Cardinal looks forward to being your home for all things Cardinal Hoops.

Luke Hancock

Cards swat SLU Billikens away to reach Sweet 16

Luke Hancock

By Annie Moore–

The University of Louisville basketball team defeated St. Louis University 66-51 Saturday afternoon, in a game that was anything but perfect, to advance to its third-consecutive Sweet 16. Both teams struggled to get started on offense until Louisville found its rhythm in the waning minutes of the second half.

 

“We said we had to be the prettiest team in an ugly game,” said Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino. “We just wanted to grind out a W, we grinded it out, and that’s what the NCAA tournament is all about.”

 

Luke Hancock had a leading performance for the Cardinals, the senior forward scored Louisville’s first eight points, and led all scorers with 21 points on the day.

 

Defense played a huge part in Louisville’s victory, especially its effort to stop Saint Louis from scoring the three-point shot. The Billikens were 0-15 from outside the arc and shot just 39.6% from the field.

 

“We were going to smother the three,” Pitino said. “We felt that if we gave up the three, we could lose the game today. So, we were going to take that away. We were going to hang our hat on taking away the three.”

Senior guard Russ Smith shared Pitino’s sentiment, noting his teams’ defensive maturation throughout this tournament, and this game.

 

“I think our defense got better at communicating,” Smith said. “Everything just went up a notch, Saint Louis is a great team, but we did a good job of locking it in the last fifteen minutes.”

 

Smith had 11 points and three rebounds on the day, but struggled offensively in the first half. His only field goal of the half came with just 45 seconds left before the break.

 

Offensive struggles continued for the Cards in the beginning of the second half, Louisville didn’t make a field goal until six minutes into the half. The Billikens tied it up with 14:33 left in the game, and the teams traded baskets for the following minutes, until Louisville started to pull away with 10 minutes remaining.

 

A three-pointer from Hancock put the Cards up six with 10:51 left, and it was all Louisville from there. Smith, Chris Jones and Montrezl Harrell all had shots down the stretch to secure the Cards’ lead.

 

Louisville advances to the Sweet 16 in Indianapolis  to play the University of Kentucky Friday at 9:45 p.m..  Cardinal fans will doubtless be heading north on Interstate 65 for the game . SStay tuned as the Cardinal brings you unparalelled coverage of the NCAA Tournament from a student’s perspective.

 

Photo by Austin Lassell

Cards defeat Manhattan in thriller

By Annie Moore

The Louisville Cardinals opened NCAA Tournament play on Thursday night, when it defeated the Manhattan Jaspers 71-64 in an instant classic. After trading shots for the majority of the game, Luke Hancock stepped up in the final minutes of regulation to lift the Cards over the Jaspers.

“I think we needed this,” said Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino. “This was a great win for us, we can move on, and I think it will really help us. I’m glad we had a tight game that we had to fight back.”

Louisville got out to a slow start, shooting just 36% (12-of-33) from the field in the first half. Luke Hancock and Russ Smith each had eight points in the first half to lead the Cards. Montrezl Harrell had six points, and led the team in first-half rebounds with five, and blocks with two.

Smith had two steals on the night, which made him the all-time steals leader in University of Louisville history. The previous record was 245 steals, set by Peyton Siva.

While Louisville’s offense was sluggish in the first half, so was the Jaspers’. Each team made 12 shots, with Manhattan attempting 27. As is the case so many times, free throws were the difference, the Cards were 10-12 from the line, whereas Manhattan was just 2-2.

Headed into the second half, the Cards came out flat. Manhattan scored a quick four points to cut Louisville’s lead to just two points. It took Louisville four minutes to score a point in the second half.

The Jaspers tied it up 35-35 with 17:15 left in the game, and took its first lead with 16:22 left. A dunk from Montrezl Harrell with 16:04 left tied the score back up at 37-37.

The teams traded points in a second half that proved to be a battle to the very end. The second half saw constant lead changes, as the Cards piled up fouls and struggled to connect from outside the three-point arc.  The Cards were 4-13 on the night, whereas the Jaspers were 3-5.

But Hancock never said die. The senior scored eight points in the final two minutes of regulation to put Louisville on top when the final buzzer sounded.

Next up for Louisville, the Billikens of St. Louis University.

seniors

No. 11 Louisville beats No. 19 UConn 81-48

By Sam Draut–

No. 11 Louisville celebrated the careers of the four seniors who have seen the most wins in their careers in Cardinal history as Louisville routed No. 19 Connecticut 81-48 on Saturday at the KFC YUM! Center.

Stephan Van Treese, Tim Henderson, Luke Hancock, and Russ Smith were all honored before the game, then started and played integral roles in the Cardinals first victory over a ranked team at home this season.

Montrezl Harrell led Louisville (26-5) with 20 points and 11 rebounds, his ninth double-double of the season.

“He’s an incredible basketball player right now. He’s improved his passing. He’s improved his dribbling. He’s improved his one-on-one moves,” coach Rick Pitino said.

Hancock paced the seniors in scoring, hitting four three-pointers, finishing with 16 points and three rebounds.

But Smith stole the show, passing his way to a career high 13 assists.  In 30 minutes of play, Smith took just two shots from the field, scoring three points and adding four steals.

“I can’t ever imagine Russ Smith, knowing him, on senior night, would pass up all opportunities to score and get 13 assists. It shows you how much he has grown,” Pitino said. “He got to play point guard and he knows the role of a point guard, which is pass before shot.”

Van Treese, starting his ninth consecutive game, pulled down a season high 13 rebounds and scored six points.

“We need him to play exactly the way he played,” Pitino said. “We need him because now he’s a legitimate player that helps us win the game so now we fully expect him to play that way every night.”

Tim Henderson logged 14 minutes in his first career start and scored two points.

Louisville opened the game on a 17-5 run through the first eight minutes.  Connecticut (24-7) started the game 0 of 8 from the field, but settled in an trailed 30-18 at halftime.

“If we can play that stifling defense, we are a tough team,” Pitino said. “We have been playing 90-100% man this season, and tonight we went all zone, which I thought we played awesome.”

Connecticut’s offensive struggles stemmed from a poor performance from the Huskie’s backcourt of  Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright.  UConn’s two leading scorers combined for 13 points on 4 of 24 shooting from the field.

“The biggest focus on the game was wearing those two guys out physically without fouling,” Pitino said.

After going five games without hitting a three-pointer, Wayne Blackshear connected with three on Saturday and finished with 11 points.

Chris Jones added 10 points off the bench.

With the win, Louisville won a share of the AAC regular season title with Cincinnati.

“We are happy with it, as long as we have a share of it,” Pitino said. “I think that is great and they have had a terrific season. We are excited about it. We will share it with anybody and we had a great season. I am very proud of our guys. ”

Russdiculous

No. 11 Louisville beats No. 18 SMU 84-71

By Sam Draut–

Russ Smith scored 22 points in the second half, hitting six three pointers, leading eleventh ranked Louisville to an 84-71 win against eighteenth ranked Southern Methodist.

The Cardinals second road victory over a ranked team this season was sparked by the senior guard, who finished the game with 26 points, six rebounds, and five assists.  Smith was 6 of 6 from behind the arc.

SMU blitzed Louisville early, going up 18-5 through the first eight minutes.  After falling behind 26-12, the Cardinals finished the final six minutes of the half on a 20-4 run, taking a 32-30 lead into halftime.

Chris Jones kept Louisville afloat in the first half, scoring 13 of his 21 points before the break.

Louisville (25-5) led SMU 43-41 with 13 minutes left in the second half when Smith connected with three three-pointers in 84 seconds.

SMU (23-7) cut the lead to 55-54, but Louisville received another 11 point scoring burst from Smith to put the game away.

Montrezl Harrell scored 19 points and pulled down eight rebounds.  Luke Hancock added 15 points.

The sixth consecutive sellout crowd in Dallas saw SMU’s first home loss of the season, the Mustangs had previously defeated three ranked teams at Moody Coliseum.

Louisville wraps up the regular season with a home finale against UConn at the KFC YUM! Center on Saturday.  The Cardinals are guaranteed at least a share of the AAC Regular Season title with a victory over UConn.

Photo by Austin Lassell

Nobody dunks like Montrezl dunks

By Noah Allison

Louisville is a basketball school, and of all the basketball schools Louisville is one that is

known for its dunkers.

The rims are still shaking from the power of past greats. Last year, forward Chane

Behanan won Dunk of the Year and tied U of L’s single season dunk record with 59.

Terrence Williams, otherwise know as T-Will, could throw it down on anybody. National

Champion and All-American center Pervis Ellison originally set the single-season dunk

record. And of course there is the great Darrell Griffith, Dr. Dunkenstein, enough said.

The list goes on, and this year sophomore forward Montrezl Harrell has put himself at

the top of it. Through 26 games of his sophomore season Harrel broke Ellison’s record of

59. He got dunk number 60 at home against the University of South Florida and has four

more games to add to it.

“I was 14 the first time I dunked,” Harrell said. “It’s an aggressive play and I’m an

aggressive player attacking the rim. Once you go up to dunk the ball it’s a for-sure two

points. There are not too many dunks that I’ll miss.”

Harrell has possibly the most famous dunk in school history with his lead taking, monster

alley-oop at the end of the first half of last year’s National Championhsip.

For not playing all too much his freshman year, Harrell has taken a huge step of

improvement being the teams leading rebounder and second-leading scorer. The young

captain is contributing far more than just his dunks to Louisville this year. But the dunks

have not gone unappreciated.

“It’s really remarkable that he set this record as a sophomore,” head coach Rick Pitino said.

“And especially when you consider that he didn’t play that much as a freshman so for him to

set it as a sophomore is really something. You’d think Doctor Dunkenstein would have this

record by 100 or something, but Montrezl set it as a sophomore.”

Harrell is sixth place all time for Louisville’s leader board of dunks. He is less than ten

away from tying Cornelius Holden who played for Louisville from 1988-92.

“There are a lot of great guys on that list,” Harrell said. “Coming in here I didn’t know too

much about it, but then once it started to dawn on me that I had a chance to break it, it is a

blessing. Now I hold that record and it’s just a matter of how high I’m going to set it.”

Photo by Austin Lassell

Terry Rozier surpassing expectations

By Sam Draut

Terry Rozier came to Louisville looking for a fresh start.

 “I’m starting over. Everything I did before this point means nothing,” Rozier said. “I want a clean slate.”

While on the floor, the freshman has kept his slate clean, directing the offense with an efficient 3.4 assist-to-
turnover ratio. Through 27 games, Rozier has just 15 turnovers while averaging 7.4 points per game.

“I can’t explain it because it is a remarkable thing. Even if you are not a freshman, it is a remarkable thing,” Rick

Pitino said. “I just think he keeps his head up. He doesn’t put himself into situations where he could get trapped and

foul. So it is a remarkable stat. I have not seen it too many times.”

Rozier has averaged 22.4 minutes per game in 14 conference contests, but has turned the ball over just 11 times.

“I just want to make a good play every possession,” Rozier said.

Rozier averages a minuscule 1.12 turnovers per 40 minutes of game play.

“I don’t want to do too much, I don’t want to do too little. I want to come off screens and look for open players,”

Rozier said. “I don’t want to throw any crazy passes, never too much, never too little.”

Rozier does more than protecting the basketball. He is shooting 39.5 percent from the three which is second

best on the team and averaging nine points per game in conference play.

“He plays mature, he is aggressive, he finds people shots and he can score himself. He does a little bit of

everything, plays great defense,” Luke Hancock said.

In the past three games against Rutgers, USF and Cincinnati, Rozier has scored 16, 13, and 11 respectively. As

his playing time has increased, Rozier has produced results.

“He doesn’t play 40 minutes a game, he is a role player, sometimes a starter, but I think he has awesome talent as

well, and continues to get better, and better,” Pitino said. “We have Russ Smith, and Chris Jones upperclassmen,

that’s who he is playing behind, but I think he is having as good a year as any guard in the country.”

Along with Smith and Jones, Rozier has helped to form one of the most formidable backcourts in the country,

but has also been able to look towards the upperclassmen for guidance.

“Russ Smith has helped me with a lot of things, I feel like at the beginning of the season I wasn’t being aggressive

enough because I was trying to limit my turnovers,” Rozier said.

“He has been very consistent and his development is important for this team,” Smith said. “If you tell him one

thing once, he will get it done.”

Rozier was the second-leading scorer for the Cardinals with 11 points in their 58-57 victory over seventh ranked

Cincinnati on Saturday. He also added six rebounds and dished off to Smith for the game-winning jumper.

As Louisville heads into March, Rozier will continue to work towards improvement.

 “I’m never satisfied until I can reach my highest point,” Rozier said.

Freshman guard Terry Rozier scores a career high 16 points in the Cards 102-54 victory over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

Cardinals defeat Rutgers 102-54

When Louisville first played Rutgers in New Jersey a little over a month ago, they left with their closest margin of victory on the season. Beating the Scarlet Knights 83-76. When Rutgers re-matched the Cards Sunday night in the KFC Yum! Center, they left with a 102-54 loss.

            We shot the ball well and when you do that and don’t turn it over and play hard, it makes your defense better and you play better in all phases of the game,” Head Coach Rick Pitino said. “I am very excited about the victory. Our guys just nailed their focus. They really pay no attention to whom they’re playing and they just play hard. They aren’t always going to win but they will play their butts off.”

            Senior guard Russ Smith came out and immediately hit a three-pointer, which was followed by three’s from senior small forward Luke Hancock and junior guard Chris Jones. The shots kept falling.

            The Cards shot 56 percent from the field. Seven different players hit from behind the three-point line combining for 16 made three-pointers.

            Hancock scored a career high 25 points, hitting six of eight three’s in the process. He also pulled down six rebounds.

            Freshman guard Terry Rozier hit four three’s and scored a career high 16 points. He also led the team in assists with four and steals with three.

            Sophomore forward Montrezl Harrell led the Cards with nine rebounds and added two blocks.

            The Cards had 23 assists and committed only nine turnovers. They had 11 steals among Rutgers’ 18 total turnovers.

            The Cards have won four in a row and are in the last month of regular season play. To improve team spirits and just simply have fun the players and coaches, including Pitino, are not shaving until they lose a game. Last year the Cardinals ended their season on a 16-game win streak and Pitino held true to his promise of getting a tattoo. Card Nation hopes that the light-hearted magic of Pitino’s antics will work two years in a row.

            “What we try to do in the dog days of February is try to do things that make sure we have fun. People get tired. I told the guys, ‘let’s have some fun.’ February is a tough month. I have never had a beard in my life, not even in college,” Pitino said.

            The beards may be a good thing to adopt because the rest of the Cards’ schedule is more than tough. Road games at Cincinnati, SMU and Memphis and then UConn at home once more will give the Cards plenty of opportunities to clean their faces.

            The Cardinals host USF Tuesday, February 18 at 7:00 pm. 

Photo Courtesy of Adam Mathieu/ the Oracle

Louisville routs USF

By Noah Allison

The twelfth ranked University of Louisville men’s basketball team rolled over USF 86-47 Wednesday night at the Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida stretching their conference winning streak to four games.

Once again, U of L, 17-3, received a boost off the bench from junior forward Wayne Blackshear.  He led all scorers with 16 points and hit three of the Cardinals twelve three pointers.

Montrezl Harrell contributed with his fifth double-double of the season, he finished with 14 points and ten rebounds.

For just the second time in his career, Mangok Mathiang scored in double figures, finishing with 10 points.

Chris Jones remained out of the lineup due to injury, in his absence; Terry Rozier scored 9 points and dished out five assists.

Luke Hancock added 14 points.

U of L faces Cincinnati next Thursday at the KFC YUM! Center at 7:00.