By Aaron Williams–
Freshman forward Chane Behanan’s 16 point and seven rebound performance led the way in terms of scoring for the University of Louisville men’s basketball team as they blew past the University of Pikeville in their first exhibition match of the season. Head coach Rick Pitino called Behanan the best freshman he has coached since Jamal Mashburn at the University of Kentucky in comments he made to the media following Wednesday night’s exhibition.
“I’m not finding any fault with him, he’s as good of a freshman that I’ve coached since Mashburn in terms of talent, and that’s about as good a statement as I could possibly say,” said Pitino.
After the game, Behanan said Pitino hadn’t told him as much yet, but discussed areas of his game that the Louisville head coach would like to see him work on.
“I just have to put the intensity that I have for scoring on the rebounding side of things,” said Behanan.
Behanan was not the Cards’ only star on Wednesday night.
Sophomore center Gorgui Dieng had another solid outing with 14 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks. Five of Dieng’s 15 boards came on the offensive glass. Dieng also avoided the foul trouble he had been in during the red-white scrimmages.
“I think we played good. It’s not about me, it’s about the team. We all played good,” said Dieng after the game.
Louisville’s offense was also energized by senior guard Chris Smith, who went 3-3 on outside shooting to finish with 13 total points and seven rebounds of his own.
The Cardinals offense shot only 27.8 percent from behind the arc, but dominated the paint with 42 points scored inside.
Junior guard Peyton Siva had less of an impact than usual with only eight points and five assists.
Other less than good news for the Cards included the play of the newly arrived freshman guard Wayne Blackshear who went 0-6 from the field in 15 minutes of play. The other formerly injured player on the squad, sophomore guard Elisha “Bullet” Justice, had three turnovers in his time on the court.
“It’s not only that Wayne is out of shape, he hasn’t touched a basketball in six months,” said Pitino. “So, that’s extreme. He has no defensive timing, no offensive timing. He has no basketball skills right now because he hasn’t touched a ball in six months. So it’ll take a good six weeks before he’s a basketball player again,”
Photo: Michael Baldwin/The Louisville Cardinal