Louisville still has some things to work on before March, at least in the fans’ eyes. They seem to be back in the groove of things, but people were still waiting for the No. 11 team in the country to completely dominate a lesser team and go for the kill.
Tonight against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Louisville showed their dominance and won pretty easily, 68-48. The Cardinals did start off slow and went into 28-26, but came out swinging and outscored Rutgers 40-22 in the second-half. Louisville’s defense was excellent, especially in the second-half run, forcing the Scarlet Knights to shoot just 32-percent for the game.
Rutgers head coach Mike Rice said of Louisville after the game via ScarletKnights.com:
I think the top-10 teams in the country, if you’re not on their talent level, they’ll give you some problems. I thought we handled attack pressure well in the first half. You can’t blink against this team. If you’re inconsistent, which Rutgers is, which my team is, that’s a bad sign because they’re going to take advantage of you.
Sophomore Wayne Blackshear was the story of the game for Louisville, scoring 19 points in only 14 minutes of play due to foul trouble. Coach Rick Pitino and Louisville fans have been waiting for Blackshear to return to the player they watched in high school, but he has struggled with shoulder injuries. Rick Pitino said after the game that the once McDonald’s All-American is now 100-percent. That is music to fans ears as they look toward the NCAA tournament in a little less than two months away.
Russ Smith added 14 points, five rebounds and four assists for Louisville and had a very big dunk.
For Rutgers, this is a hard loss. They have now lost five straight games and appear to be out of the hunt for any post-season games. Rutgers must play a very good Georgetown team at home Saturday.
There is a lot now to be excited as Louisville has done a great job the past two games taking control and closing games out. Louisville must play Notre Dame Saturday in a ESPN College Gameday event. The Cardinals have struggled against teams like Notre Dame in the past, so it will be another great test to make sure they are tournament ready.
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