The Louisville men’s basketball team dropped its first road test of the season in a 73-64 loss at Michigan State on Wednesday night. Louisville falls to 5-2 on the season. Michigan State improved to 6-2.
El Ellis lead all scorers with 22 points on 8-12 shooting and 4-7 from three. Dre Davis added 15 points and 4 rebounds. Malik Williams added 10 points and 8 rebounds for the Cards. Louisville shot 41.0 percent from the field and 25.9 percent from long range.
For Michigan State, Malik Hall led the way with 15 points and 5 rebounds. Marcus Bingham Jr. had 9 points and 12 boards. MSU shot 46.9 percent from the field and 55.6 percent from three-point range. Six different players scored at least 9 points for Sparty.
It took eight minutes of game time before either team reached double figures. Michigan State led 11-9 at the second media timeout. It was neck-and-neck for the following eight minutes, with MSU leading 24-22 at the 5:29 mark. From there, it was all Sparty for remainder of the first half with Louisville trailing 36-28 at the break.
Out of halftime, Louisville cut it to two points with a quick 9-3 run before the under-16 timeout. Michigan State responded with a 13-2 run and it was never a game from there. Sparty took a double-digit lead at the 13:04 mark and did not look back. Louisville (specifically El Ellis) engineered a late run, but it was too little too late as Michigan State came away victorious on its home floor.
- I owe Dre Davis an apology for ever doubting his importance to this basketball team. Davis had another impressive night on Wednesday and was one of only two bright spots on the entire Louisville roster. He belongs in this lineup.
- I said during the preseason that at some point it could be hard to justify keeping El Ellis off the court for too long. It seems like we have reached that point. Ellis was the only player in Louisville’s backcourt who showed any sort of promise offensively on Wednesday. He still seems a bit too raw and erratic offensively, but I would ride it out if I were this coaching staff. It is hard to see any guard on the roster with a higher ceiling. El Ellis is the only reason Michigan State did not win this game by 20 points.
- This has been brewing, but it is actually time to start worrying about the offense. A team so reliant on shooting three-pointers simply is not good enough to play that style. The backcourt personnel has not shown an ability to penetrate inside, so even a change in approach might not fix things soon.
- At some point, Chris Mack has to come up with something resembling a rotation. Through seven games no one has the first clue how any player on this team stands with the coaching staff. It is a tough spot to be in, considering not one player has consistently stood out from the pack, but at some point Mack has to figure out who is good enough and stick with them.
- Altogether, this was a major wake up call for Louisville. Michigan State is a good team. It is not good enough to completely blow the doors off of a power conference opponent in the second half like it did on Wednesday. There’s no way around it, this was a troubling performance all around for the Cards.
Louisville is back on the road Saturday afternoon for a 2:00 p.m. matchup with NC State on ESPN2.