Some anticipated #19 Louisville’s game against St. John’s would be a trap game for the Cardinals. After a huge comeback in their last game against Marquette, it would have been easy for the Cards to have an emotional hangover and slip up against a highly improved St. John’s team that Rick Pitino predicted would win the Big East this year. However, the Cards dominated every aspect of Wednesday night’s matchup and rolled the Red Storm 88-63. What made it more impressive is that they were able to do it without Terrence Jennings and Mike Marra.
“I was very surprised. These guys don’t care about injuries. Someone else stepped up,” Pitino said.
Louisville was forced to play a small lineup but it couldn’t have worked out any better for them. The Cards executed their trap defense to perfection and forced 25 turnovers while disrupting any rhythm the Red Storm tried to get going on offense. In the first half, the Cards went on a 19-2 run and kept St. John’s from scoring for more than 7 minutes. The Cards nailed 15 of their first 19 shots on offense and eventually extended the lead to 40-19 at one point in the first half.
Preston Knowles continued to establish himself as the Cards main offensive threat by leading the team with 25 points while junior guard Kyle Kuric stepped up big by racking up 20 points and going 5-7 from beyond the arc. Peyton Siva, who was booed to the bench in the Cards last game, should a fantastic show of resilience by adding 10 points, 10 rebounds, and an amazing 7 steals.
It looks like the Cardinals are going to have to get used to playing with this small lineup however. As of now, the team has no active power forwards and the severity of Jennings injury is still unknown. One can’t argue the chemistry being built within in this team though. It’s hard to believe that Cards are playing without a single starter from last year but the complete line shift may be just what the doctor ordered for Louisville. The Cards improved to 15-3 and 4-1 in Big East play.
The Cards will travel to Providence on Saturday to take on the Friars who have yet to win a Big East matchup. Tipoff is set for 5:00pm 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.