Gameday Recap: Louisville at Pittsburgh

The Louisville Cardinals are back in the win column with a 64-54 win at Pittsburgh on Wednesday night in their conference opener. Louisville is now 5-1 and 1-0 in the ACC. Pitt falls to 5-2 overall and 1-1 in the ACC.

David Johnson led Louisville with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 2 assists. Samuell Williamson added 14 points and 12 boards. Carlik Jones finished with 11 points, 4 rebounds and 7 assists.

For Pittsburgh, Femi Odukale led the team with 16 points and 3 rebounds. Xavier Johnson added 10 points and 2 rebounds. Louisville out-rebounded Pitt by 19 and only had 6 team assists. In addition to head coach Jeff Capel missing the game due to COVID-19, the Panthers’ top two leading scorers Justin Champagnie and Au’Diese Toney were both ruled out with injuries before the game.

Louisville raced out to a 24-9 lead in the first 10 minutes of the opening half before Pittsburgh responded with a 17-3 run to make it one point game at the under-4 timeout. Louisville would eventually go into the break with a slim 30-28 lead.Both teams traded buckets out of the half and Louisville led 40-39 at the under-12 timeout. From there, Louisville closed the game on a 24-15 run to seal its first conference win of the season.

It looked like Louisville was going to blow the doors of this Pittsburgh team, but another long first half scoring drought kept them from extending their lead. Considering Pitt was without its head coach and two leading scorers, this was way too close. Louisville still looks a bit rusty, but we saw some good things, especially in the first 10 minutes and the final 10 minutes of the game.

Defensively, there is not much to worry about. Louisville held Pitt to 54 points and they were able to withstand some offensive struggles in the middle of the game. It was that offensive end of the floor that gives you some reasons for concern. The Cards looked much better with Carlik Jones on the floor, but David Johnson still did not look 100 percent right and no one else really looked like they wanted to step up. The box score looks good, but both Johnson and Williamson still struggled offensively.

Louisville is shooting 21.8 percent from three in its past two games. Without a true center it seems clear that this team is going to struggle inside against longer defensive teams like Pitt and Wisconsin. They play a Kentucky defense that is still really solid despite the team’s record. The Cards will likely need to make more than four three-pointers on Saturday.

A convincing win here would have made you feel much better headed into this weekend, but it is hard to complain about a double digit victory on the road in conference play. Now, all eyes turn to Saturday, where Louisville will try to beat its rival Kentucky for the first time in four years.

Up Next:

Louisville faces Kentucky Saturday at 1:00 p.m. ET in the annual Battle for the Bluegrass.

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