Louisville has not struggled much through the 2019-2020 season. On Sunday, the Cards started slow but quickly got it together as Louisville ran away from North Carolina Central en route to a 87-58 victory at home.
Louisville held a 24-15 lead later in the first half, but the Cards closed on 19-4 run and held a 24 point lead at the break. Steven Enoch had 10 points through 20 minutes on 5-6 shooting. NC Central shot 28.6 percent from the field and went 2-15 from three in the first period.
— Louisville Basketball (@LouisvilleMBB) November 18, 2019
Out of halftime, things picked up on both sides. Louisville made its first six shots, but NC Central kept up with the Cards as the lead hovered around 20-25 points early on in the second half.
It was a sloppy defensive performance from Louisville in the second half., The Cards were out-rebounded 18-13 and committed 16 fouls as a team after halftime.
Despite the sluggish second half defense, Louisville still kept its large lead throughout the half and was able to get the freshmen some extended minutes late. Josh Nickelberry finally hit his first basket in open play when he connected on his second three point attempt of the game. Quinn Slazinski got in late in the first half and again in the second; he grabbed 2 rebounds and had 2 assists. Aidan Igiehon logged 13 minutes of time and scored 3 points with a team leading 7 rebounds. He also committed 4 fouls. Two of them came late in the game, but he will have to play without fouling if he wants to stay on the court this season.
“Our younger guys have to get a little more tougher,” Coach Chris Mack said after the game. He said their errors on defense will become more magnified as the competition toughens.
For now at least, it appears that Samuell Williamson is the only freshman who is going to be a major contributor on this team. He continues to look like he belongs out on the court. Williamson has yet to start a game, but he’s playing starter-level minutes every night. Of course, David Johnson could earn time once he returns from injury.
Johnson and Malik WIlliams were full participants in pregame shootaround and both dressed on Sunday. Mack said he could have played both of them tonight, but did not want to in a blowout given their game fitness. It’s been a pretty strict 7 man rotation to start the year. Malik Williams is expected to slot right into the rotation, and David Johnson looks like someone who could potentially earn time once he gets back.
Louisville has not been tested so far this season. The past three games especially have been against inferior competition, but they continue to get the job done impressively. The tests will come soon, but this team seems very comfortable. Regardless, it feels pretty good to be 4-0.
Up Next: Louisville is home on Wednesday night at 7:00 for a matchup with USC Upstate on ACC Network.