The scenario could not have been better for the Providence Friars Saturday night in their 72-67 stunner over Louisville. They were hosting former coach Rick Pitino’s team, Louisville’s offensive playmakers were on the bench, and the Cardinals were ice cold from beyond the arc. The Friars punched it out with the #15 team in the nation the entire game and were assisted by a number of Louisville errors to come out victorious.
In the first half, Louisville fouled early and often and put the Friars in the bonus at the ten-minute mark. Peyton Siva, Preston Knowles, and Kyle Kuric all got into early foul trouble forcing the Cardinals to attempt to score in the paint. The Cards were able to stay competitive throughout the game for the most part because of their forward play. Chris Smith, Terrence Jennings, and Stephan Van Treese accounted for 30 of Louisville’s 43 points at the half. When the game turned into a track meet, prior knowledge would indicate an advantage for the Cardinals. However, with all Louisville’s speedsters and offensive talent on the bench, it was the Friars who had the edge in the transition game.
Whether it was solid defense or foul trouble, the Cardinals two biggest offensive threats were all but non-existent. Knowles, who was averaging 16 points a game, was held to just 2 points and eventually fouled out towards the end of the game. Siva, who is the only other Cardinal that averages double-digit points, was held to just 5 points and looked erratic at times when handling the ball.
Providence was able to beat the Cardinals at their own game by creating 18 Louisville turnovers including 12 steals. It’s obvious to see that when the guards of Louisville are not firing on all cylinders (much less sitting on the bench), the team will struggle mightily. Even when the Cards had their “sharpshooters” in, they went a horrid 4-23 from 3-point land in which Mike Marra went 0-5, Knowles went 0-4, and Kuric went 0-4.
Louisville has four days to work the kinks out before they host Big East rival West Virginia back at the comfy confines of the KFC Yum! Center on Wednesday. Like the Cards, WVU will be entering the game with a sour taste in their mouths after losing to unranked Marshall on Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled 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.