Sunday’s game featuring the Louisville Cardinals versus the Division 2 Bellarmine Knights started with the feel-good story of the early season. Patrick McSweeney, a 15-year-old St. X student, started and scored the first basket for the Knights. McSweeney, faced with life-threatening leukemia, put up three shots for Bellarmine, finally hitting his third shot. He finished the game with 2 points, 1 rebound, and even added a steal for good measure.
The feel-good story was over early. After McSweeney left the game the Cardinals got down to business by using their size and speed to put away the Knights. Montrezl Harrell led the Cardinals with 17 points and a game-high 9 rebounds. He closed out the first half with a driving layup. He then received a pass from Quentin Snider and hit a three-pointer as time ran out. Wayne Blackshear continued his strong performance in the exhibition season by showing more offensive aggression than any of his first three seasons. Blackshear finished with 16 points on 6 of 12 shooting. The starting backcourt of Chris Jones and Terry Rozier figures to be Louisville’s biggest strength. They combined to score 24 points, grab 7 rebounds, dish out 6 assists, and get 7 steals.
“The first half was about as well as we’ve played all year,” head coach Rick Pitino said after the game. “That was a great half of basketball in every phase of the game; pressing, offense, defense, ball movement, rebounding. It was really outstanding. The second half wasn’t as good. But the first half, I was really, really pleased and we looked like an outstanding basketball team.”
The regular season begins this Friday as Louisville will face Minnesota in the third annual Armed Forces Classic in Puerto Rico.