Analyzed Sports | S.K. Patrick
Tis the season for not only Christmas but college basketball as well. After a nail-biter against Albany on Wednesday night, the Louisville Cardinals returned to the court Saturday afternoon to take on the Grand Canyon Antelopes. As has been the case in many games this season Louisville got off to a painfully slow start. Missed assignments, careless turnovers, and shots not falling helped Grand Canyon gain confidence that they could keep up with one of the premier programs in college basketball. Grand Canyon gave Louisville a scare in the first half but couldn’t keep up their high level of play. The final score was 74-56.
Grand Canyon went on an 11-3 run to open the game starting off with back to back three-pointers from Casey Benson to silence the crowd early. The Cards could not stop the Antelopes interior game as they pounded the paint for most of the half after their strong start. Louisville did themselves no favors missing a number of free throws throughout the first half of play.
Deng Adel helped lead a chargeback midway through the first half with a thunderous block. The block sparked a run that would eventually give UofL their first lead with three minutes left in the half. With the lead head coach, David Padgett unleashed a full-court press that Louisville is known for causing havoc for Grand Canyon. The roles were reserved as Grand Canyon played sloppily and Louisville executed in the closing minutes of the half. Going into halftime the score was 31-25 with boys in red and black leading. Grand Canyon shot 10-25 with 12 turnovers. Louisville shot 13-30 with cutting down on an early turnover with only 6.
Louisville was at it again to start the second half. A slow start and turnovers allowed the Antelopes to slowly creep back into the game. But as the second half progressed the pick roll action from Quentin Snider and Anas Mahmoud came to the forefront with lobs and dunks getting the crowd amped up. Louisville hustled for every single loose ball and played up-tempo throughout the latter part of the second half. In the second half, they built their lead to 19 with over 8 minutes left. Aggressive attacks put them out of reach as Louisville went 18-27 from the free-throw line.
“ In the second half it was good to see shots fall, we got off to a little bit of a slow start with shoots. That’s going to happen so it was good to see our resilience.” Louisville coach David Padgett said. “ Very proud of our guys. We slipped up once in the non-conference against Seton Hall but other than that we took care of business.”
Ray Spalding went off posting numbers of 21 points and 16 rebounds. Deng Adel and Quentin Snider joined Spalding in the double points club today. The slow starts that Louisville has experienced will not bode well as they enter conference play. Cardinals have a couple of days off to enjoy Christmas before it’s on to their biggest challenge of the year thus far in the Kentucky Wildcats. They will need to get off to a fast start to keep past with one of the best teams in the country at Rupp Arena.