Charlie’s Good Times: Louisville basketball vs Lipscomb

LOUISVILLE, KY - DECEMBER 12: Christen Cunningham #1 of the Louisville Cardinals shoots the ball against the Lipscomb Bisons at KFC YUM! Center on December 12, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - DECEMBER 12: Christen Cunningham #1 of the Louisville Cardinals shoots the ball against the Lipscomb Bisons at KFC YUM! Center on December 12, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

How was Louisville Basketball going to bounce back from a 1 point loss to IU in Assembly Hall was the big question. A quality Lipscomb team came into the YUM and The Cards were up to the challenge in another dog fight.

Another top 100 NET (the new RPI rankings) came rolling into the YUM Center Wednesday night in the Lipscomb Bison. Coming in with a 7-2 record, and putting up points almost at will, Lipscomb is a veteran team that can shoot the lights out and stands a pretty good chance to be in the big dance come March.

Louisville Basketball was coming off a loss to the now Top 25 Indiana Hoosiers in a game many felt Louisville let slip away with maybe the worst half of basketball they have played to date this season in the second half. This could have been considered a trap game, Lipscomb was planning on coming into town and getting an upset quality win over a Cards team that they were hoping would be emotionally hung over from the IU loss.

Watched the game at home in Casa de Buenos Tiempos and scrolled my twitter timeline I could see Cardnation grow more and more nervous as tip-off neared so lets take a look at the good, the really good, and not so good times of another night of high pressure watching the cardiac cards.

The Good: Malik Williams stepping up.

All the hype leading up to this season about Louisville post play was based around UConn transfer Steven Enoch. He is a physical specimen that everyone was expecting big things from and at times this season we have witnessed The Enochness Monster dominate, this however was not one of those games. No one player is “on” every game, and with Louisville being so thin in the front court that could be a recipe for disaster. However, against Lipscomb, sophomore big man Malik Williams played to peak potential, racking up a double double (10 points 13 rebounds) in just 17 minutes of play joining some pretty elite past Cards.

Malik did all the things Coach Mack and his teammates needed from him lifting The Cards to a win on the glass 49-35 along with hitting a pair of timely three point shots.

While Williams led the way on the boards, it was once again Jordan Nwora leading the way in scoring again and just missing back-to-back double doubles with 22 points and 9 boards. Nwora came out on fire, scoring Louisville’s first 11 points and at the first TV timeout was outscoring Lipscomb all by himself 11-7, and electrified Cardnation with 3 run out dunks.

The Really Good: Christen Cunningham in crunch time

Note to every other NCAA team do not let Christen Cunningham get into the lane with only seconds remaining in a close game, he will make you pay for it. Cunningham is calm, cool, and collected with the ball in his hands with the game in the line. While his stat line of 3 points and 2 assists would not blow you away, you have to watch Cunningham play the game to see how valuable he is on this other wise pretty young Louisville team.

The Not so Good: Turnovers

While it is promising to see the Cardinals win the rebound battle 49-35, the paint scoring 30-28, and bench scoring 26-20 over a quality more than likely tournament team like Lipscomb, it is just as scary to see them loss the turnover battle by coughing the ball up 17 times. The turnovers is what kept The Bison in the game until the last few seconds. This is something Coach Mack and team have to get cleared up before conference play starts if the Cards want to finish better than 11th as predicted by the talking heads. The ACC is stacked and there are too many great teams that would really take advantage of Louisville turning the ball over 17 times.

Overall this is a very promising win for several reasons. It shows this team can move past a tough loss quickly and bounce back to focus on the next opponent.  This Louisville team has great chemistry and really plays for each other.  Louisville’s own Dwayne Sutton who was one of three Cards in double figures scoring (14 points) is the utility man that does whatever is asked of him and does it well. Scoring, rebounding, blocking shots, on ball defense, help defense, getting on the floor for loss balls you name it and Sutton does it and does it well. Darius Perry got his hair braided and really bounced back from a touch game against IU. Perry can provide points when Nwora is on the bench or the Cards just need a basket.

Next. Louisville football's biggest recruiting needs, and the players most likely to fill them. dark

Next up for Louisville is game two of a five game home stand against Kent State this Saturday. Kent is coming in 8-1 with a win over Vanderbilt and a game against Savannah where they put up 104 points. While this one will not be a walk in the park for Louisville hopefully it will not come down to the last possession again. Go Cards.