It looks as though Louisville can win a game playing against a slow, methodical opponent after all. The Cardinals dominated the game tempo Friday night and advanced to the Big East finals after knocking off Notre Dame 64-50.
It looked as though the Irish were going to be able to slow the game way down and leisurely bludgeon Louisville to death in the initial minutes of the game. However, a coaching move by Rick Pitino to switch to a full court press jump-started the game speed and got the Cardinals up and running. Louisville’s high-pressure defense forced the Irish into a number of forced shots which resulted in their atrocious 19-of-53 field goals performance. Notre Dame went ice cold towards the end of the first half and didn’t convert a field goal in the final 12 minutes and 42 seconds. The Cardinals led 35-19 at the half and were able to keep the Irish at an arm’s length for the remainder of the game.
In addition to pushing the ball, Louisville also performed well inside when necessary. The Cards scored 22 points in the paint during the first half and center Gorgui Dieng led Louisville with 16 points for the game. Junior point guard Peyton Siva had another solid night; scoring 13 points, collecting 8 rebounds and racking up 9 assists while senior forward Kyle Kuric registered 12 points.
The Cardinals now turn their focus to Saturday night where they’ll battle Cincinnati for the Big East Tournament crown. The Bearcats upset #2 Syracuse on Friday 71-68 and are riding some serious momentum going into Saturday’s showdown. Tipoff is set for 9pm EST and will be shown on ESPN.
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.