Hell in the Hall – Louisville Sports Blog

Dedicated to the joyful noise of the Card faithful

Louisville 76 DePaul 59

Posted by frankpos on January 14, 2012

It was streetball at its best/worst, and we amazingly covered the 16 pt Vegas spread–even with 40 minute/game Kyle Kuric on the sidelines with an ankle sprain, and center Gorgui Dieng arriving in a neck brace (but playing.)

Russ Smith taking his usual "open" shot--on his way to a team high 25 points, leading the Cards to a much needed "W".

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The post-Providence team meeting seemed to produce better body language as well as results, as the Cards rebounded from that humiliating beatdown–and losses in 4 of their previous 5 games– with a win finally.

Even though it came against a relatively weak DePaul team, Hey! Anything, ANYTHING to break that loser mindset.   Recent sports studies have shown–not surprisingly–that a loss will strongly statistically lead to another loss, until a win is achieved.  There is definitely a basis for such things as losing and winning “streaks.’

The game was not a pretty affair, and the Cards continued there woes in defending the 3 pt arc, allowing the Demons to nail over 43% from there–including 50% in the second half.   And this , plus a ragged 17 TO’s,  permitted DePaul to hang around all game long, even to pulling within 8 pts with still 3 minutes left to play.

But the scowling faces and sagging body language was not there, at least for now.

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Gorgui played like a man possessed, dropping a double-double on the Demons, as well as blocking 4 shots

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Russ Smith and Chris Smith resurfaced after slumps, and with a determined Gorgui Dieng led the team.  Russ led the team with 25 pts–and actually had 6 assists and only 3 turnovers too.  Mind you he took 25 shots–and missed all seven 3-pointers he tried.  But the man made things cook.

Chris popped in 20 pts–including 4 for 5 on 3-balls, and added 3 boards.  After a severe slump,he has now put together two solid games in a row, and in interviews sounds like he mentally has his head screwed on right finally .

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Senior co-captain recorded his second straight solid game, with 20 pts and 4-5 on 3-balls

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Gorgui– what can you say?  He arrives game time in a neck brace, asks the team doc if there is anything he can do to play, they give him  a shot –and he pounds in another double -double, with 13 pts and 14 boards…and 4 blocked shots.  My already high estimation of this young man just went up exponentially.

Kevin Ware was a bright spot, showing some nice moves to the hoop, and grabbing 4 bounds.

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Other bright spots?  Kevin Ware displayed some nice athleticism on some smooth moves to the bucket, and finished with 6 pts on 3-6 shooting–and added 4 big boards.  And Peyton Siva at least seemed more determined and focused–although his 7 assists would seem gaudier if not for his 6 TO’s too.  (Still no decent jump shot to keep opponents from sagging back  yet either…)

Peyton Siva dished 7 assists--but still had an ugly 6 TO'sto go with it. Later, he admitted his ankle had just come out of a brace and was still on the mend.

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And so now what is to come?  Well, we knew at the beginning of the season we had no true back-ups at center , or at the point.  Along the way we have also discovered that only Siva and Russ Smith can beat their man off the dribble– and that has limited Kyle Kuric’s and Chris Smith’s production relative to last season.  And continues to make the offense sputter for life at times.

By this time in the season, it is apparent what a team’s strengths and weaknesses are–to both the players, the fans, and definitely your opponents. Each team has that mix–and by you can only fight to maximize the good, and minimize the bad.

That’s where we are now.  Fighting to maximize our strengths–and fighting off a dose of team turmoil.

Can this team still achieve at least some degree of greatness as predicted pre-season?

We will begin to see very soon with tomorrow’s trip to #20 Marquette…

Check out the full set of game  photos of the game from HITH photog Matt Wickham at the right sidebar and at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylures/sets/72157628872412915/detail/.

Oh, yeah...the LadyBirds were there too...

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