Louisville continued their losing streak with another close game 61-60. The Cardinals lost in heart-breaking fashion with El Ellis’s clutch lay-up called off due to the game clock expiring before the ball left his fingertips. Let’s take a look at how the Cardinals fared against the Mountaineers. Player grades are listed below to review their performances after the soul-crushing loss.
- Mike James: B
The redshirt freshman ended the night with nine points and four rebounds. The 6-foot-5 guard has shown his ability to score and is becoming more comfortable playing at the collegiate level. James limited his turnovers but his production was limited whenever Ellis did not lead the offense playing the point. The role that Ellis plays during the game may change his looks on the floor.
- El Ellis: A-
The senior guard finished the night with 29 points, three rebounds, and three assists. Ellis showed his ability to take over a game again with more aggression due to Miller taking over at the one spot. Not much else can be said due to him dominating during the second half.
Ellis showed his improvements defensively by working through screens better and staying in front of ball handlers. It’s tough to see the guard not being rewarded with the last basket being waved off.
- Brandon Huntley-Hatfield: B-
The sophomore finished the night with 12 points and ten rebounds. At the beginning of the game, the big man struggled with finishing touches in the paint, but was able to take control afterwards. Huntley-Hatfield continues to grow offensively whether it’s scoring in the post or by driving into the lane.
The Tennessee tranfer’s stat line won’t show this with ten rebounds, but not prioritizing boxing out or putting a body on someone when a shot is attempted will be more costly with more athletic big men. This was something that allowed for second chance points during the game.
- JJ Traynor: C
The Bardstown, KY native netted three points and five rebounds. Traynor’s performance was forgettable and didn’t show what he is truly capable of. The 6-foot-8 forward is usually someone who is one of the first off the bench, which shows that Kenny Payne respects how he performs in practice. Fans are waiting to see him tap into his full potential.
- Hercy Miller: B
The Tennessee State transfer finished with five points, six rebounds, and two assists. Miller had a positive 11 plus-minus stat that led the team. He spent more time leading the offense, which allowed Ellis to play a different role. Miller’s effort on defense may have been the reason for this. Others watching shouldn’t be surprised with more playing time for him in the future.
- Sydney Curry: C
The senior finished the night with two points and eight rebounds. Curry will always have tough ratings due to how great he looked last year. The big man improved defensively compared to last game. However, he did not find someone to box out consistently.
Offensively, Curry had success rebounding the ball on the offensive glass last year. This is something that has been lacking so far this season and is something the coaching staff will have to encourage him to improve if he wants to be as successful as he was last season.