On Tuesday, the Louisville men’s basketball program opened its season away from home for the first time in five years. The Cards returned to the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday afternoon with a convincing 78-55 win over Youngstown State.
Louisville made its first 11 field goal attempts of the game, getting out to a 24-8 lead within the first six minutes of action. They would slow down from there, only holding a seven point lead at halftime.
After the break, the Cards once again came out hot, using a 15-5 run to extend the lead to double figures for good. Youngstown never was able to get back into it and Louisville cruised to a comfortable win in its first regular season game in front of the home crowd.
Steven Enoch led the Cardinals with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Jordan Nwora had 21 points and 6 boards as well. Ryan McMahon scored 16 points for the second straight game.
For Youngstown, Naz Bohannon led the way with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Coach Mack said he was “a little upset” after reading the box score, citing the Penguins’ 19 offensive team rebounds. “We are far from a finished product; we have to get better in that area,” Mack said.
Darius Perry probably had the most encouraging performance out of any Cardinal tonight. “Best game he’s played since I’ve been head coach,” Coach Mack said about Perry. He finished with 10 points on 7 shots with 5 rebounds and a career high 12 assists. “He is making the correct play more, more and more,” Mack added.
There isn’t much that can be taken from this game given that Youngstown is a sub-200 team who Louisville was expected to beat easily. Samuell Williamson played over 12 first half minutes and looks just as comfortable on the court as he did against Miami on Tuesday. He didn’t fill up the stat sheet, but he figures to end up being a major contributor to this Cards team as the season goes on. He finished with 6 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists.
Speaking of freshmen, Aidan Igiehon got in early on but exited quickly after fouling three times in four minutes. He looks more raw that most would have probably thought. It’s only two games in, but it would be unfair to expect him to be a real difference maker this early in the year. It appears that he has a long way to go in all areas of the game.
Coach Mack stuck with a fairly short rotation throughout. Quinn Slazinski and Josh Nickelberry were the other freshmen who logged minutes. Slazinski came in midway through the second half and knocked down two three pointers as the Cards extended their lead. You may have seen some more bench contribution if the game was in doubt going into the second half. but for now the freshmen besides Williamson have yet to get much of an opportunity.
At 2-0, Louisville is exactly where most expected them to be thus far in the season. It was a sloppy performance at times. Against tougher competition they will have to be more efficient on both ends of the floor.
Up Next: Louisville is back home for Indiana State Wednesday night at 8:00 on the ACC Network.