For the second game in a row, UofL used a balanced attack that resulted in an 84-74 victory over the Villanova Wildcats. Louisville improved to 16-5, 4-4 while Villanova fell to 10-11, 3-6.
Chane Behanan only played 18 minutes because of foul trouble. He picked up 3 in the first half, and ended up fouling out. But when he was on the floor, he could not be stopped. He ended up with 14 points and 7 rebounds in only 18 minutes. Three of those rebounds were on the offensive end, and they usually resulted in a put back. Just like against Pittsburgh, whenever he did get the ball, he could not be stopped.
Gorgui Dieng notched his 9th double-double of the season with 12 points and 13 rebounds, 5 of those coming on the offensive end. He also added 3 assists and 2 blocks. He was in foul trouble as well, but managed to stay in the game and play 37 minutes. Another big stat for Dieng was that he was 4-4 from the free throw line.
Perhaps the most positive thing about this game, aside from Behanan playing so well, was that Peyton Siva seems to have found his confidence and rhythm on the floor. He did not drive too deep and force shots or bad passes, and he ended up with 16 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, and only 1 turnover. He knocked down a couple of big jumpers, which he has not done all season. He also drove all the way to the basket and made a great pass to Jared Swopshire for a 3 pointer to put the Cards up 9 with just over a minute to play, sealing the victory.
Kyle Kuric, Chris Smith, and Russ Smith all had solid games as well. Although Kuric only shot 4-14, he still ended up with 14 points. Even on an off night, he did not disappear from the game; he was always active. Chris Smith got the Cards going in the first half, hitting his first three 3 pointers and ending the game with 14 points and 7 rebounds in 34 minutes off the bench. Russ Smith was all over the place as usual, scoring 8 points, dishing out 5 assists, and grabbing 4 rebounds.
For Villanova, Maalik Wayns got himself into foul trouble, and that costs the team. He picked up his 4th foul early in the second half and went to the bench, and the Cards took advantage. When he finally did return, Villanova was playing catch up, and just could not come all the way back. He scored 19 points on 7-11 shooting, so his time on the bench really worked in the Cards favor.
It is good to get a win, but it is much better when the team looks good doing it. The Cards are finally starting to put their talent together and play well as a team. Let’s hope they can keep it up this Saturday at Seton Hall (15-4, 4-3). Go Cards!