By Derek DeBurger
No. 20 Louisville uses a 22-10 run to claw their way to a victory over the Liberty Flames.
This was a dicey game from the start. The Cards jumped to a 7-2 lead, but that’s when the Flames turned up the heat. The rest of the first quarter was almost all Liberty as they entered the second quarter up seven points.
In the second quarter, Louisville dialed up the pressure and began hitting shots in the paint to go into halftime tied 32-32.
Louisville had the momentum going into the locker rooms, but coming out Liberty took it all back. The Cards failed to hit shots or hold onto the ball, meanwhile, the Flames hit on virtually everything they threw up. Liberty was also playing like the bigger team despite being far from it, getting stops in the paint and swatting away shot attempts for blocks. Liberty finished the game with three blocks to Louisville’s one.
Liberty would take a 52-46 lead into the fourth quarter.
The final quarter of play started off contested, back and forth with the Cards unable to take back the lead. It would stay like this until a little over halfway through the quarter when the Cards really ratcheted up the pressure, forcing turnovers and difficult looks, dominating on the boards, and turning those defensive stops into offensive scores. The Cards ended a game on a 22-10 run to close the game out.
The Cards would win 72-63.
Coming off of a loss on Friday and a game that was much closer than it should’ve been on Saturday, the Cards are reeling a bit heading into Sunday’s matchup against the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Louisville has a bit of a history with Gonzaga, having met in the NCAA tournament twice in recent years. Those two matchups were split with each team getting a win, and each game fairly competitive.
Gonzaga is a good team, and Louisville will probably have to have the best game of their season to beat them.
The Bulldogs’ best players are twin guards Kayleigh and Kaylynne Truong. Both players are seniors who can lead their offense in both scoring and facilitating to get others involved. The rest of the Gonzaga offense has followed their lead as they do a great job of sharing the ball. All the movement among their offense gets players wide open and allows them to shoot at a high rate.
Gonzaga isn’t amazing at forcing the issue and getting turnovers, but Louisville has helped out a lot of teams this season with their mistakes.
Louisville is 5-1 on the year, looking to go 6-1 on Sunday.