The no. 6 Louisville Cardinals (6-0) didn’t allow Long Beach State to pull another upset on a Big East team like they did on no. 9 Pitt last week. Louisville started the game with an 8-0 run and kept the scrappy 49ers squad at an arm’s length for the remainder of the game to pull out a 79-66 victory.
The Cardinals found their stroke from behind the arc, connecting on 7-of-17 three-point attempts with senior Chris Smith connecting on 4 of his 6 three-point tries. Smith led the Cardinals with 18 points while adding 3 assists and 2 rebounds. Louisville’s bench was also a major contributor with Jarod Swopshire scoring 10 points and Russ Smith adding 10. Russ, a sophomore who is currently transitioning into a shooting guard, was forced to play a lot more at the point guard position after Peyton Siva got into foul trouble early and backup Elisha Justice sidelined with a broken nose.
Cardinals fans also had to be impressed with the sustained progression of sophomore center Gorgui Dieng. The 6’10 big man from Senegal continued to improve his offensive footwork and shooting to compliment his already impressive shot blocking and rebounding abilities. Dieng scored 9 points while adding 8 rebounds and a block before fouling out in the latter part of the second half.
Louisville’s complex transitioning zone defense gave the 49ers problems all evening, causing 21 LBSU turnovers while stealing the ball 14 times. Despite the stellar defensive efforts, LBSU’s 66 points were the most put on the Cardinals all season. Leading the 49ers in points was senior guard Larry Anderson with 17 while senior point Casper Ware added 13 points with 8 assists.
The undefeated Cardinals will be back in action on Friday to take on no. 19 Vanderbilt at the KFC Yum! Center. The Commodores will be the first ranked team that Louisville has faced so far this season. Tipoff is set for 8:30pm 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.