By Jason Krell
When it was announced that Louisville would be honoring the 2012-13 team during halftime of the matchup against Clemson (19-8, 11-5 ACC), it gave fans something to be excited about.
In a season of more downs than ups, celebrating history was just what the city and fans needed to turn the corner.
An electric first half
From tipoff, it was evident Louisville (4-23, 2-14 ACC) was playing with grit and passion, which has been relatively scarce this season. In their previous matchup on January 11th, the Cards lost 70-83.
They showcased some of that in their nail-biter loss to #7 Virginia (21-4, 13-3 ACC) on Wednesday, losing just by 3. Likewise, the Tigers matched their intensity — after a 3-game slide, they are one of the many teams on the bubble to hear their name called on Selection Sunday (which is rapidly approaching).
Senior guard El Ellis recorded 14 of his 28 points in the first half, nearly matching Clemson’s PJ Hall, who had 13 of his 28 in the first half, too.
A large reason the Yum! Center saw its highest attendance rate of the season was due to the fact the University of Louisville would be honoring the 2012-13 team — a group that shifted the outlook of Louisville basketball forever.
Louisville legend Peyton Siva gave a heartfelt message to Card Nation looking back on his time as a player and reflecting on what the team accomplished that historic season. Members of the historic team were greeted with applause from a crowd loud enough to be heard all the way over in Ann Arbor.
While not all members of the team were present during the celebration, Siva made sure that those absent were acknowledged. Current Philadelphia 76rs player Montrezl Harrell, Stephan Van Treese, and 2013 NCAA Final Four MVP Luke Hancock were some of the other notable members in attendance.
Carrying the momentum till the end
After leading by three at the break, the Cardinals continued their first-half success from the field and found themselves leading by as much as 14.
Shooting an impressive 51% from the field, the Tigers simply couldn’t come up with an answer despite Hall’s 28-point performance. Louisville held Clemson to 4-24 from the arc.
Junior JJ Traynor posted two earth-shattering dunks en route to a career-best 16 points, nine rebounds, and four blocks; he was the Cards’ second-highest scorer.
Ellis capped off his dominant performance with a late 360 dunk that sealed the deal and put the Cardinals ahead by ten. Shooting an impressive 26-28 from the line (the third-best performance in program history on at least 25 attempts), Louisville made sure to stop any attempt at a late comeback push from the Tigers.
The Cardinals are tasked with playing three of their final four games on the road, their next being a matchup against the Duke Blue Devils on ESPN. Their final game at home will be on February, 28th against Virginia Tech.
Image Courtesy// GoCards.com//