After a demoralizing loss to Villanova last week, it would have been easy for the young Louisville Cardinals to simply roll over when they were down 18 points with under six minutes to go in their Friday matchup against Marquette. However, the Cards took a huge step towards becoming what Rick Pitino thinks they can become in the near future by rallying and defeating the Golden Eagles 71-70.
“They outplayed us for the first 34 minutes. I’m really proud of these guys. I’m shaking. It happened so fast,” Pitino said.
Louisville stayed calm, cool, and collected and methodically chipped away at the Golden Eagles lead down the stretch. What was so promising for the Cards however, was the way in which they came back. In a very un-Cards like fashion, Louisville didn’t shoot 3-pointer after 3-pointer in hopes of cutting the point deficit. Unlike in their loss to Villanova where the Cards melted down in the second half, the Cards continued to work the inside game and actually outscored Marquette inside the paint. The Cards also improved their rebounding, which was atrocious in their previous loss. Louisville outrebounded Marquette 38 to 34 while compiling 8 offensive rebounds.
As usual, Preston Knowles led the Cards with 17 points and went 5 for 8 from behind the arc. But Knowles’ most important statistic was an assist he made in the closing seconds of the game. As time was ticking down, Knowles drove to the basket and drew three Marquette defenders. In spite of his natural reaction to shoot the ball under any circumstance, Knowles dished the ball off to an open Kyle Kuric who put in the eventual game winning layup with four seconds to go.
“They were all concentrating on me, and I made them pay for it,” Knowles said.
Another nice surprise was the play of Sophomore Forward Stephen Van Treese. Playing only eighteen minutes, Van Treese registered 10 points, 3 rebounds and a steal. Along witth Van Treese, Kuric also scored 10 points and tallied 4 rebounds while Chris Smith added 7 points and 7 boards.
With the competition being so tight in the Big East, the win over Marquette could potentially act as the building block victory the Cards needed to show them what they’re capable of.
“We learned a lot about character,” Kuric said.
Louisville’s next game will be Wednesday against a vastly improved St. John’s squad at the KFC Yum! Center. Tipoff is set for 7:00pm EST.
About the Author
Written by John Buffone
John was born in Rural Valley, Pennsylvania. He attended Clarion University and received a degree in Mass Media Arts and Journalism. He currently hosts "The Sports Zone with John Buffone" on AM 1380 WTYM in Kittanning, PA. John is also a sports columnist for the Kittanning Paper and a contributor to Examiner.com, and CatholicSportsJournal.com.