Louisville took their winning streak and beards to Cincinnati to face a Bearcat team that jumped all over the Cards and beat them in their first meeting. This time, in what could be the last regular season match up between the two bitter rivals in the near future; there was a different outcome. This was a game that the teams two fan bases have grown accustomed to over the year. Both teams played good defense and were very physical with one another. Cincinnati’s star player Sean Kilpatrick put the Bearcats on his back and scored 28 of their 57 points. But it was Louisville’s star player Russ Smith who hit the biggest shot, a 15 footer that put Louisville up by a point.
Although we didn’t get much scoring from the 3 spot, only 2 points combined between Luke and Wayne, we witnessed some development from other positions. Terry Rozier for one, was phenomenal. Terry had 11 points, 6 rebounds, a steal, 0 turnovers, and 2 assist, with the biggest assist of the game coming in a very unselfish Peyton Siva-like fashion to Russ for the game-winner. Terry has shown throughout the season that he is a player, and should be mentioned more when so called experts discuss the country’s best freshmen. Chris Jones who has struggled some lately came through and made some key plays down the stretch to help Louisville get the win. Mangok Mathiang was tough, he had 5 rebounds and 4 points to go along with 3 blocks. Mangok has looked as if he has started his progression toward fulfilling Dan Dakich’s tournament break-out prediction. Now to Montrezl, most would say Russ is the key to this team’s success, being he is our senior leader, our best scorer, and will go down as one of Louisville’s greatest of all time, but Montrezl is every bit as important. Montrezl’s play lately shows that he understands that and he has risen to the challenge. In a rivalry game like this if you’re not tough as a big man, you’ll be on the bench or watching guys throw down over top of you for 40 minutes. Montrezl proved that he is indeed tough, and finished with a team high in points and rebounds with 21 and 10.
So as Louisville continues to grow into a serious threat to repeat as champions, their beards do as well and us Cardinal fan’s hope our team gets confused as a ZZ Top cover band in Dallas.