Louisville Basketball: the good, the bad, the ugly: Seton Hall

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 23: Dwayne Sutton #24 of the Louisville Cardinals listens in the huddle during the first half of the game against Marquette Golden Eagles at the NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament at Barclays Center on November 23, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 23: Dwayne Sutton #24 of the Louisville Cardinals listens in the huddle during the first half of the game against Marquette Golden Eagles at the NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament at Barclays Center on November 23, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Louisville basketball returned back to action after their huge win against the 9th ranked Spartans of Michigan State. We recap another win against Seton Hall.

A Saturday noon tip on FOX had me feeling nostalgic back to a Lil’ Charlie in the late 80’s / early 90’s  watching my first ever favorite Louisville basketball player LaBradford Smith slam dunk all over the Metro Conference.

Louisville went on the road for their first true road game of the season against former Big East Foe, Seton Hall, in a game that made me awful anxious.

The Prudential Center came across pretty wild on television and for good reason. This Pirates team came in riding a three game winning streak over respectable teams Grand Canyon, Hawaii, and Miami (FL) not to mention they have one of the best player in the country with Myles Powell.

Right from tip the Kevin Willard’s hard nosed on ball defense was in full effect. Louisville basketball looked like deer in headlights for the first few possessions.

The game was not but about three minutes in when I quickly started to think “maybe today is just not going to be our day.” It did not take long to realize the pressure defense from Seton Hall had Louisville rattled early all while

The Pirates could score pretty much at will. I was worried maybe there was some fatigue carrying over from the huge win a few days prior over #9 Michigan State coupled with travel back up to New York I was fearing the worst.

But then it happened. The resilent, tough, unbreakable Louisville Cardinals team that we saw against Michigan State emerged once again. They went from being down by as many as 12 in the first half, to pulling out another resume building win, 70-65.

The Good: Dwayne Sutton

No one on the Louisville roster played as well as Dwayne Sutton, who led the team in scoring for the first time this season with 12 points. Whether it was grabbing big rebounds, making tough shots, or getting defensive stops, Sutton did it all.

In a first half that really saw Louisville struggle to find points, Sutton kept the Cards around almost single handily. All 12 of Sutton’s points came in the first half and Louisville needed each and every one of them.

While the game high point output is why this will be remembered as the “Dwayne Game” but the hometown kid also grabbed 9 rebounds and did so many other things that do not appear in the box score. Tipping balls for rebounds, hitting the deck for loose balls, boxing out, and just flat out hustling everyone else on the court is the heart of Dwayne’s game and you could make a real debate that Sutton is the Cards MVP through these first seven games of the season.

Another really good takeaway from Saturday was that Steven Enoch finally got to play some real minutes. Without TV Teddy on the floor to give Enoch bad foul calls “The Enochness Monster” finally got to flex some muscle on the court finishing with 8 points and two very powerful throw downs.

The Bad: Sloppy Play

Not to take a bat to a deceased horse but the Cards did not adjust well to Seton Hall’s hard on ball defense. The offense seemed to never really get into a flow and was bailed out by three point shooting. While the offense was more balanced than we have come accustom to, Sutton was the only Cardinal with double digit scoring.

My wife was constantly screaming “sloppy pass” or “make better passes,” and she was right. UL could have taken better care of the basketball coughing up 16 turnovers which led to 21 Pirate points on turnovers.

This was Louisville’s first true road in a pretty hostile environment, and they fought and played tough to hang around. The Kevin Willard defense did just as planned and rushed UL into some bad passes and early in the shot clock, less than stellar shot selection but in the end the Cards played hard nosed team basketball and walked out of the The Prudential Center with a quality hard fought win.

The Ugly:  Points in Paint

With Enoch on the floor for 20 plus minutes Seton Hall’s 42 points in the paint seems high. I was not just post play that led to those 42 points, it was hard for anyone to stay in front of Myles Powell. The Pirates only had 6 offensive rebounds all game and Louisville easily won the rebound battle 42-28 which is even more evidence that Seton Hall was getting to the rim nearly at will. The difference in the end of the game was Powell did not shoot the ball well from beyond the arc and late in the game the bigger Cardinal defense really locked in and ensured a UL victory.

This was a hard fought and quality road win. This is the type of game that really builds mental toughness over the long haul. This team now knows it does not have to lean on Nwora to score or VJ’s senior leadership to lead the way. They can score and win games when Jordan and VJ have off nights because this team is talented.

With the game on the line and Nwora pretty out of control it was the floor general Christen Cunningham that showed his leadership by taking control, slowing the game down, and playing smart basketball to close out the game. CC slowing the game down and getting the most out of those critical late game possessions opened the floor for our knight in shining armor with ice in his veins Ryan “McMayn” McMahon to shoot his trademark top of the key three to gift wrap another Louisville win. Thank goodness the team won one in New York with Bill Murray in attendance, I was really starting to worry there was a curse brewing but now I am 1000% on board to get Bill to Yum.

The Cards will take the floor again on Wednesday night when the scrappy Central Arkansas Bears (3-4) come to the KFC Yum! Center. This will be a good test for Louisville before they head back out onto the road, just up I-65 North, to take on the Indiana Hoosiers and Romeo Langford.

Next. Louisville basketball game grades: Cards use late charge to get first road win. dark

This should give all of our heart rates a rest while watching following the last 2 games of UL living up to the cardiac cards nickname. Pack the Yum, get it rocking, and as always Go Cards!