Louisville once again found itself on the ropes Saturday before narrowly defeating Detroit Mercy 73-67 inside the KFC Yum! Center. Louisville improves to 3-1 on the season. Detroit falls to 0-4.
— Louisville Basketball (@LouisvilleMBB) November 20, 2021
Dre Davis led Louisville with 18 points and 9 rebounds. Malik Williams posted 11 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Noah Locke added 16 points of his own. Louisville shot 49.1-percent from the field and 38.7-percent from three.
For Detroit, Antoine Davis led all scorers with 27 points and 3 assists. Madut Akec had 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 steals. Matt Johnson added 10 points and 5 boards. As a team, the Titans shot just 40.7-percent from the field and 36.0-percent from deep.
Louisville found itself neck-and-neck with Detroit for most of the first half before an 11-0 run propelled the Cards to a 42-35 lead headed into the break. Out of the half, Louisville kept things going, extending the run to 18-0 and storming out to a 14-point lead. The Cards never officially trailed during the second half, but Detroit kept the lead under 10 for the final 12 minutes and had things tied up at 67 with 1:39 on the clock. Noah Locke hit a three-pointer on the next possession and Louisville got a couple defensive stops to hold on for the 73-67 victory.
- Dre Davis finally had a standout performance after scoring just 11 points in his first three games. Matt Cross was limited on Saturday, freeing up more time for Davis on the court. He looked as engaged offensively as we’ve seen in a while, dating back to last season. Davis’ 18 points were the second most of his career. The door is wide open for anyone to step up offensively for Louisville. It was Dre Davis on Saturday.
- Malik Williams played his best game of the season so far in my opinion. Williams played 28 minutes and kept the frontcourt backups off the court for the most part. It is not secret that Williams is one of the most important guys on this team. He posted a positive +/- of 24 against Detroit. The issue was when he was not on the floor.
- Jae’Lyn Withers was probably the worst player on the floor for the Cards. Withers registered only 2 points and 3 rebounds in 21 minutes of action on Saturday. Since his permanent move to power forward, Withers has shown a willingness to play on the perimeter. He has yet to establish an identity four games into his second season. What seemed like a bright spot heading into 2022 is now officially an area of concern. If Jae’Lyn Withers cannot show up against Detroit, that’s a problem.
- Noah Locke is quietly averaging 16.0 points through four games. The senior transfer from Florida is not even shooting it at a particularly crazy percentage, but right now he has been Mr. Reliable offensively for Louisville. He hit another big shot on Saturday. I don’t think I’m convinced that Locke is good enough to be the number one option, but it is clear that he needs to be more involved. His impact so far cannot go unnoticed.
- Less than one month into the season and no one knows if the new Louisville offensive plan will work out or not. Anyone with eyes can see that the Cards are obviously running a more attractive type of offense this season. The execution and results have not come with it. These things can surely take time, but so far it has been all style and no substance. I think I am officially concerned, and I am simultaneously begging for them to prove me wrong.
- The cupcake portion of Louisville’s 2021-2022 season is now over. The Cards will play four straight games against power conference opponents starting on Thursday. Three of those are away from home. It is more than okay to be critical of this team right now. The performances so far have been inexcusable. It obviously is not as simple as that. Louisville still has not played a regular season game with its head coach. It won’t until Dec. 4. That said, you look at the roster and it does not match the results. Louisville has to be better. The serious business begins next week.
Louisville heads to the Bahamas for the Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas Championship. The Cards play Mississippi State on Thanksgiving Night at 9:30 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network. They’ll play either Maryland or Richmond on Saturday Nov. 27.