LOUISVILLE, KY– The Cardinals suffer their second straight loss to a non-conference opponent by one single point. Wright State’s senior guard Trey Calvin knocked down a fall-away jumpshot as time expired with Louisville’s Brandon Huntley-Hatfield and Mike James draped all over him.
A heart-breaking way to end a game that included great effort and ball movement on the offensive end. The passing and the ball movement was much more fluid than it was in Louisville’s loss to Bellarmine University.
The extent of Louisville’s offensive execution against the Knights was to pass the ball around the perimeter until one of the four players decided to shoot. However, that was not the case yesterday against the Raiders. Jae’Lyn Withers and El Ellis penetrated the paint on a consistent basis throughout the game, which helped gain them 15 points and 29 points respectively.
Penetrating the paint is one of the most effective ways to make a stagnant offense turn fluid. The inability to get to the basket is a recipe for failure in the offensive end. But Louisville was able to penetrate the paint with multiple players this game and it was relieving to watch such a drastic improvement from one game to the next.
Also, Louisville was setting high pick-and-rolls and picks in the paint to help create space on the offense. The Cardinals were playing with much more of a proactive gameplan rather than a reactive one. It seemed like Louisville was playing catch-up against Bellarmine, but that was not the case against Wright State.
Another notable takeaway was Xavier transfer Hercy Miller relieved a lot of ball-handling pressure from El Ellis. Ellis did not rest against Bellarmine recording 40 total minutes of play. Against Wright State, he only recorded 34 minutes with Miller recording 11 minutes. In those 11 minutes, the sophomore guard was able to knock down a three point shot from the corner and grab a steal.
Kenny Payne is already having an impact with this team just two games into the season. It will be exciting to watch his impact in the offensive end continue to unfold throughout the entire year. The only areas that could still use improvement are in fast break points and the half-court defense.
Louisville showed effort on the defensive end, but in the closing minute of the game Wright State’s Brandon Noel drove baseline to make the game 71-72 Louisville’s lead. The best case scenario in that situation is to foul him in that moment and make him earn those points from the free throw line.
Despite the loss, Louisville’s basketball team looked vastly improved from the game before and they are definitely trending upward in terms of ball movement and trust in each other. There were a lot of incalculable circumstances that have been holding this team back but now they can move forward in freedom.