The Louisville Cardinals needed to bounce back against St. John’s Thursday night after a rough loss against Notre Dame, which went into five overtimes. The Cardinals came into the game with a lot of questions, one being who would step up on the offensive end of the court.
Junior guard Russ Smith answered the call with 24 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals in the 72058 victory. The surprising part of Smith’s ending stats was that he did not make a single field goal in the first-half, making his three points in the half from the free-throw line.
After the loss against Notre Dame, Smith took to Instagram to apologize to fans for his mistakes in the game, promising he would do better. The trigger happy guard missed several opportunities to close out the win against Notre Dame, although it defenitly wasn’t all on him that the Cardinals lost.
Smith gives Louisville the type of spark that they need. He doesn’t always make the best decisions, but his intensity makes his teammates better. Against St. John’s, he had zero turnovers, which has to make coach Rick Pitino happy. If he can control his intensity and limit his mistakes there isn’t any player in the country that can keep him from scoring over 20 points.
Center Gorgui Dieng also stepped up big for Louisville in the win over St. John’s with ten points, 17 rebounds and two blocks.
St. John’s guards, Phil Greene and D’Angelo Harrison, made some amazing shots and combined for 39 points. The type of shots they made are the kind that create upsets, which is exactly what they needed Thursday night. St. John’s, as a team, should feel good about how they competed against the talented Cardinals, especially since they didn’t have their head coach Steve Lavin. Coach Lavin was absent this game due to the death of his father.
Louisville just needs to learn to play consistent. They have a very talented team, their stars just need to continue to pick up the rest of the team and keep intensity. They will play South Florida on the road Sunday afternoon on the road.
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