By Randy Whetstone Jr.–
Louisville men’s basketball redeemed their selves Thursday night by defeating St. John’s after being held captive in a tough five overtime loss against Notre Dame last Saturday. They improved to 20-5 for the season and8-4 in Big East. By being in the gauntlet on their last outing, the Cardinals came out focused and determined in an all-around performance against the Red Storm.
Louisville was led by terrific backcourt play from Peyton Siva and Russ Smith. The Cards were able to move the ball fluently in the first half. The team ran up and down the floor scoring 13 fast break points. The first half ended with a steal by the Cards, and finish by Blackshear to give Louisville a seven point lead. Seconds later, Peyton Siva went coast-to-coast for a lay-up that beat the buzzer before the half. The team had a nine point lead 32-23.
St. John’s started the second half on a 10-0 run which gave them a one point lead 33-32. That seemed to be the only lightning struck by the Red Storm; Russ Smith who led the Cards with 24 points (12-14 FT-FTA) gave the team momentum with two big three point shots. Coach Pitino stated, “He gave us the spurt we needed.” Louisville maintained the tempo throughout the rest of the contest. Gorgui Dieng recorded a double-double with 10 points and 17 rebounds.
The Cardinals will strive back towards the top of the Big East when they face off against South Florida Sunday. Coach Rick Pitino gave his thoughts about the league in the last parts of this regular season,
“We got to go down and just keep on getting better. Our goal is to win all seven. It’s a league that shows no mercy. It’s going to be very exciting come Big East Tournament time, because it’s the last time we all get together. All of us are going to miss it very much. We had something really special and we let it get away. So, we got to enjoy it one last time around, even though we will play another year, but we won’t have Pitt and Syracuse.”
Photo: Austin Lassell/The Louisville Cardinal