In a week in which ranked teams were getting upset at an alarming rate, No. 14 Louisville made sure they were not the next one to be upset. And they made sure in dominating fashion, beating NC State 85 – 60.
One thing I’m really, really proud of is these guys bring it every night,” said Rick Pitino. “Now we lost, obviously to Florida State, but we brought it big time. This group, like last year’s group, just bring it all the time – we can lose, but we bring it – and I’m really, really happy with that. We haven’t had a game where it’s one of those nights didn’t go well, like Pitt the other night when we played them. Our guys have been bringing it and somebody’s been stepping up with major injuries, and when we get healthy, it’ll really help us down the road.”
Many thought that NC State super freshman Dennis Smith Jr. would be the best player on the floor, but Donovan Mitchell showed that he was the best player. Mitchell scored U of L’s first 11 points of the game and did not stop from there. He finished with a superb all-around performance scoring 28 points, grabbing 8 rebounds, and dishing out 5 assists.
Louisville hit on 50 percent of their shots including 12 of their 24 three point attempts. Mitchell was 6 – 10 from 3-point range.
The biggest concern for the Cardinals coming in was the lack of depth at the guard position. Injuries to Quentin Snider and Tony Hicks coupled with the scholarship limitations have put the Cardinals in a bind. Senior David Levitch stepped in to the starting lineup and played well. His stats don’t overwhelm, but he does everything the coach asks him to do. Levitch did score six and had three assists.
Levitch was praised by Pitino after the game, “David Levitch has always been a terrific passer, paint toucher, unselfish guy, terrific steal guy, knows the game. When you are down two scholarships because of what we took and then two guys get hurt, you need a great walk-on. David Levitch is as good as it gets in the country. He bailed us out once again in many tough situations.”
Mangok Mathiang came off of the bench and continues to impress with his strong post play. Completely healthy from last season’s broken foot, Mathiang scored 14 points on 7 – 9 shooting.
Dennis Smith Jr. struggled the entire game. U of L’s defense hounded him and did not give him anything easy. He was held to eight points, the first game this season in which he has failed to score in double figures.
The Cards improved to (18 – 4, 6 – 3) on the season. NC State needed another big win against a ranked team to improve their tournament stock. They have now lost five of their last games and fell to (14 – 8, 3 – 6).
Louisville has a week off before they return to the court. They travel to Boston College next Saturday for a 3:00 game.