The team was dominant despite David Johnson’s struggles
An unexpectedly bad performance by David Johnson in the first game of the season is one of the only negatives to come out of the first game.
In a nearly flawless performance by the team, Johnson was flawed.
Johnson picked up two fouls in the first five minutes of action. Then, late in the first half, he came back in and picked up another rather quickly. Johnson only played eight minutes in the frame because of his foul issues.
He did have seven rebounds and five assists. But, as a scorer, Johnson scored four points on 2-for-7 shooting and just was not attacking in the ways that everyone became accustomed to seeing at the end of the 2019-2020 season. He just could not establish his own rhythm due to fouls.
Despite this development, the Cardinals did not miss a beat. Sophomore Quinn Slazinski came out and showed that he was an improved player offensively with some ability to put it on the floor and score driving to the basket. That was a nice addition to Slazinski’s elite three-point shooting he already offered on the offensive end.
I have not even talked about Samuell Williamson yet who had one of his best games of his career in the first of his sophomore season. Williamson put up 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists on 8-of-12 shooting.
Williamson was forcing the issue a bit too much in the first half with a couple of offensive fouls and a few turnovers. However, he settled in and let his offensive talent work for himself in the second half. I was impressed with Williamson’s willingness to impose his will offensively.
With the help of the freshman Davis and Traynor playing well, the Cardinals proved they could seal the deal (given it was a weaker opponent) and still dominate. Louisville is missing two of their better players in Malik Williams and Charles Minlend. Proving they could win with one of Louisville’s best players struggling was absolutely key.
As stated earlier, the Cardinals have a big-time early test scheduled for just a couple days from now on Black Friday against a solid Seton Hall team. It will be interesting to see how this team will stack up in game two.