With No. 1 Kentucky Looming, Cards win tune-up, 80 – 55

Rick Pitino said in his post-game press conference that he was “feeling sick tonight”, but one guy that definitely wasn’t feeling sick was Louisville’s Wayne Blackshear.  He led the Cardinals with a career-high 31 points on 11 of 17 shooting and 6 of his 11 three-point attempts as No. 4 Louisville rolled over Cal State Northridge, 80 – 55.

Blackshear has been a streaky shooter his entire career, but tonight he was on from the beginning.  He hit his first seven shots and scored the Cardinals’ first 13 points.  He nearly outscored the Matadors by himself in the first half scoring a career-high 23 points.  Louisville led 36 – 25 at the half.

The Matadors, coached by former Louisville assistant Reggie Theus, kept the game close up until midway through the second half in which they trailed by only eight points.  Louisville then closed the game on a 29 to 12 run.

Coming into the season, rebounding was considered to be one of the Cardinals’ weaker areas.  Through the first 10 games Louisville ranked 10th in the nation in rebounding margin at 10.3 per game.  The absence of Montrezl Harrell (one game suspension for fighting) was surely felt in the rebounding area as the Matadors tied the Cardinals with 36 rebounds.

Three-point shooting has been a significant cause for concern through the first 10 games.  The Cardinals came in to the game shooting only 27.5 percent.  They were 11 for 27 against the Matadors.

Blackshear was not the only hot shooter from outside for Louisville.  Surprisingly, rarely used sophomore David Levitch, came off of the bench to hit three of four from three-point range and finish with a career-high 9 points.  “David Levitch was unbelievable. He gave us a big lift in terms of what we were doing. He made the shots and that was nice but he knew what to run, said Pitino.

Anas Mahmoud continues to see more and more playing time and seems to be putting it to good use mainly on the defensive end.  He blocked three shots and altered several others.  He also corralled seven rebounds.

Louisville sits at 11 – 0 and can now start thinking and preparing for No. 1 Kentucky coming in to the KFC Yum Center this Saturday for a 2:00 showdown.  This will be perhaps the most anticipated regular season showdown in the series’ history.

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