Well that one didn’t turn out very well. The Cards got down early, but rallied with an 11-0 run to start the second half to tie the game up. From there, it was a back and forth battle, with the Irish pulling away in the last few minutes. Louisville drops to 2-1 in their new season that I proclaimed them to have, and have one big regular season game left when Virginia comes to town on Saturday.
Nobody likes to relive losses, so if anyone is even reading this, thank you. I won’t take up much of your time. Just a few quick hitters from the game.
Rozier trying to impress?
According to Howie Lindsey, there were 26 NBA scouts at the KFC Yum! Center for this game. That is a lot of professional teams watching this Louisville-Notre Dame game. The obvious guys they came to see were Jerian Grant, Montrezl Harrell, and Terry Rozier. Rozier easily had his worst game of the season, shooting only 4-15 for 11 points in 38 minutes. He was 0-4 from three pointers.
It wasn’t just that he missed shots. A lot of his shots looked forced. I only watched the game live and don’t have a shot chart, so this is just from memory. But at least once, maybe twice, he took a very quick three pointer after a turnover before the rest of our team was even down the floor. In a game where Notre Dame seemed to have no answer for Montrezl Harrell, there were far too many forced outside shots, and Rozier’s come to mind first.
He also turned the ball over three times, with two of those coming on back to back possessions that led to points for Notre Dame.
Rozier’s shot hasn’t been falling lately, but this game was different. They seemed much more forced than usual. Since it was so uncharacteristic for him to have a game like this, I am sure he gets a pass. I would think it will be a wake-up call for him and he will take much better shots on Saturday after he watches this film. You just have to wonder if having that many NBA scouts in attendance got in his head and he tried to do too much. If he was just himself, he would have been just fine. After all, being himself is what has them interested in the first place.
Pretty simple. They call them free for a reason. Nobody is guarding you. It is a free point for you to take. Notre Dame took theirs, shooting 20-25 for 80%. Louisville shot 11-18 for 61.1%. Almost every other stat was even. Check these out.
UofL: 22-52 42.3%
ND: 23-43 53.5%
UofL: 4-17 23.5%
ND: 5-16 31.3%
You look at all of those stats and it looks like it should have been another overtime game. But then free throws. They made 9 more, and won by 12. Only three players for UofL even took free throws. Montrezl Harrell was 7-12. Terry Rozier was 3-4. Wayne Blackshear was 1-2.
This one wasn’t even close. Notre Dame got 21 points from their bench, and 17 came from 6’5 freshman Bonzie Colson, who look liked a 7 footer in the paint against the Cards. Louisville got 2 points from the bench, and that was a putback from Anas Mahmoud late in the game. Mangok Mathiang fouled out in only 4 minutes and had 1 turnover with no other stats.
Defense from the youngters
Our big guys were in foul trouble all night. Some of that is their fault, but some of it is also the fault of a guard that gets beat off the dribble. Quentin Snider is still struggling with his on-ball defense. Anton Gill got all turned around on one possession and gave up a wide open jump shot at a crucial point in the game. I think these experiences will help the younger guys in the long run, even if that is next year. All of this playing time will help guys like Snider and Gill.
Team never gives up
Although it was frustrating, and multiple points of this season have been as well, this team never gives up. They never stop fighting. You have to respect that and love it as a fan. This team has been put in an uphill battle after losing their starting point guard with only 4 games left in the regular season. If you ask me, I would say they have responded pretty well so far.
Does this team have National Championship written on it for this season? You never know, but unlikely. However, I am enjoying seeing guys like Quentin Snider and Chinanu Onuaku get more and more minutes and improve in different areas of the game. Next season, these games will definitely payoff for guys like that.
So for all this team has been put through, they never stop fighting. I am excited to see how far that fight can take this team in March.
Go Cards…Go Krogering!