In a game that both teams needed to win in a bad way, the 23/21 ranked Louisville Cardinals (15-5, 3-4) went on the road and defeated the Pittsburgh Panthers (11-9, 0-7) by a score of 73-62. We were not even sure if Kyle Kuric would play. Well, he did, and he certainly made his presence known. He came off the bench to play 33 minutes and score 21 points. He also had 5 rebounds. He made 5-9 three point attempts and really hit some big shots when the Cards needed them.
Gorgui Dieng showed just how important he is to this team. As we mentioned in “Layup Lines”, it is a different game when Dieng stays out of foul trouble. He is a double-double waiting to happen, and he proved that by getting his 8th double-double of the season with 13 points and 14 rebounds. He had 3 fouls for the game, but was never in any serious trouble in either half. He added 5 blocks, and altered many more shots.
Chane Behanan played a great game, scoring a career high 19 points and grabbing 5 rebounds. He made an impressive 7-9 free throw attempts as well. He was a dominate force down low. He was either getting dunks, going to the free throw line, or showing patience and making a post move to score.
Hopefully this game is what Peyton Siva needed to turn the corner for his season. While he had 4 turnovers, most of them were earlier in the game. He also had 3 fouls in the first half and was not a factor at all. He did show up big in the second half, and ended up with 7 points (3-4 shooting) and 7 assists. He really looked like the Peyton Siva from last season, and that is what the Cards will need for the rest of the season.
A lot was made of Pittsburgh getting Travon Woodall back in their lineup. The point guard finished with 0 points on 0-5 shooting, and had 3 turnovers. Ashton Gibbs did had 14 points, but it was very spread out and he never really took over the game like he is capable of doing.
The biggest stat difference in the game was from the free throw line. The Cards shot 15-20 (75%) and the Panthers shot 1-6 (16.7%). As we said, Chane Behanan shot 9 of those free throws, because that seemed to be the only defense that Pittsburgh had for him.
The Cards next challenge will be against Villanova (10-10, 3-5). They play Wednesday at 7 pm at the KFC Yum! Center. The game will be shown on ESPN.