Rick Pitino has said he wanted to see the type of dominating defense he is used to seeing in one of his Louisville teams. If the past two games are any indication, then he is finally seeing it. The 17th-ranked Cardinals dominated Florida State (12- 6, 2-4 ACC) from the opening tip in route to an 84-65 win in front of 21,349 fans at the KFC Yum Center.
Louisville led by as many as 32 in the second half and never trailed in the game. The only thing Pitino was not happy with was the fact that FSU scored the last ten points of the game to make the score closer than it should have been.
Pitino was not sure earlier in the week exactly what type of team he has. He believes this team can be
really special especially in a year in which there is no dominate team. He also knows they can go as far as Quentin Snider takes them.
The proof was in the pudding tonight as Snider weaved his way in and out of traffic to the tune of 20 points, 2 assists, and no turnovers. His much improved shot was on display as he was 8-12 from the field and hit three of his four three point attempts. In Pitino’s words, he was “brilliant”.
Snider wasn’t the only Cardinal to show up. Chinanu Onuaku scored 11 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for his fifth consecutive double-double.
Donovan Mitchell started in place of the struggling Trey Lewis and did not disappoint. Mitchell scored 13 points and grabbed 4 rebounds, but it was one play that brought the entire crowd to their feet. Late in the first half Damion Lee shot a three and missed, but Mitchell came out of nowhere on the right side and threw a one-handed slam down on two FSU players. It was a dunk the Doctors of Dunk would be proud of.
Coaches usually like to talk only about the X’s and O’s of a game, but when asked about the dunk Pitino was as excited as the fans. Pitino said, “It was pretty special, all of a sudden he came out of nowhere.
Now I have seen him do it before but that was a pretty darn good one, it was explosive. When he jumps off two feet, my God, he can get up.” Pitino also was proud of the way Lewis played. Lewis took only three shots, but made all of them for six points. He dished out a game-high five assists.
Florida State was led by freshman star Malik Beasley. Beasley scored a game-high 23 points on 10-16 shooting. Their other star freshman, Dwayne Bacon, struggled with his shot making only 4 of his 17 attempts to finish with 12 points. The Cardinals next game is on the road against Georgia Tech Saturday at 4:00.