One look at the final score of Louisville’s game Friday evening against visiting Florida International and you might think it was just another normal game for the No. 5 Cardinals. However, Coach Rick Pitino was not completely happy with the performance. “We did some good things tonight, the thing that is missing from this basketball team and why they can’t go from good to very good is turnovers. We tried to make some passes tonight. We did a good job working inside to out, but our turnovers, and it is from our best players, is the reason we are not scoring more, or playing better.”, Pitino said.
Louisville committed a season-high 20 turnovers with 10 of them coming from starters Montrezl Harrell, Chris Jones, and Chinanu Onuaku.
Pitino was asked what is contributing to the turnovers and the below-average offense and he said, “Just very poor passing, poor ball-fakes, poor pivots, guys are open and they are trying to force it.”
On whether there is a lack of patience offensively he said, “I think these guys like to score more than teams past, the other teams really loved to pass the ball and what happens is you score more points that way. You get just as many shots, but you shoot a higher percentage. This team hunts points and that is why they don’t look as good as the past three years.”
No matter how the Cardinals are playing the fact remains that they will go into their matchup Tuesday night against Indiana in Madison Square Garden undefeated at 7 – 0. It is a part of the annual Jimmy V. Classic. This will be the first matchup between the two border states since 2003.
There were some positives to take away from this game. For the first time this season Chris Jones made 50 percent of his field goal attempts. Jones finished with 11 points, 3 assists, and 3 steals.
Montrezl Harrell had another strong performance finishing with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. It was Harrell’s second consecutive double-double. The only negative was his 5 turnovers.
David Levitch was a surprise starter for the Cardinals starting in place of Terry Rozier. Pitino was asked why Rozier was not in the starting lineup and he said it was because Terry had missed a class during the week. Rozier scored 12 points and grabbed 4 rebounds.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was the play of sophomore Anton Gill. It was Gill’s birthday and he put up the best offensive performance of his young career. He scored 15 points on a solid 6 of 10 shooting.
Florida International was led by Dennis Mavin’s 15 points on 7 of 16 shooting.