On a hot, muggy and humid night in Louisville, the action inside Freedom Hall was just not muggy or humid but just as hot between The Ville and The Underdawgs.
The Underdawgs are out of Tennessee and was led by former UofL guard Chris Jones.
Chris Jones was on fire in the first quarter, actually he was in his bag the entire game. He made one tough shot after another, he made with ease and he made sure to let everyone in attendance know it was going to be his night. Jones showed why he was a top Juco product and why Coach Pitino brought him to Louisville.
Early on The Ville struggled with the athleticism of The Underdawgs and the shot making of Chris Jones, as they trailed by four after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, The Ville started to find their footing and the crowd came alive. The Underdawgs however, continued to play tough and physical as they opened an 8-point lead. The Ville scratched and clawed all the way back to take a 2-point lead late in the quarter. Chris Jones though, made a tough shot to tie the game at 43 with less than 1 second remaining.
Coming out of the intermission, The Ville showed why they should be a favorite to make it to Philly. The defensive intensity was there, The Ville made shots and the crowd let their presence be known. The Louisville Alumni based team opened up a 6-point lead and took it into the 4th quarter.
In the 4th, The Ville opened up a 13-point lead early on. The Underdawgs and Chris Jones did not go away easily. At the time of the Elam-Ending The Ville led 71-62. The target score was 79, The Ville held a 78-68 lead and needed just one point to win. Onuaku missed three granny-style free throws, Russ missed free throw which allowed The Underdawgs to cut the lead to 4. Game on the line Russ Smith had the ball in his hands again and just like game 1, he didn’t disappoint. Russ was fouled near halfcourt and hit the free throw to win the game.
The game had everything you wanted in a game; high energy, high intensity, execution, competitive, tough shots, big defensive stops, highlights, some chippy plays, Chris Jones flopping and Chinanu Onuaku granny-style free-throws.
The crowd was phenomenal and the attendees were impressive. There were a lot former UofL players, the entire current UofL team, local celebrities and NBA players. Players were chirping back and forth with each other, as well with the crowd. Chris Jones had multiple conversations with former players and teammates in the front row. Current Cards were cheering on former players by name and calling for certain players to get the ball. It was a great environment and the city of Louisville showed out.
The Ville will now take on The Gutter Cats in the regional final at noon on Saturday. If they win they will play in the Louisville Quarterfinal (elite eight) Monday night at 9pm. Yeah it’s a little confusing & not your traditional tournament bracket. If the Ville wins Monday night they will advance to the TBT Final Four in Philly on August the 2nd.