Originally written on Louisville Card Game  |  Last updated 11/15/14
Scary start after a rough day, the University of Louisville basketball team arriving a day late because of Sunday evening fog at the Hartford airport. The late arrival forcing changes in the pre-game routine, the flight possibly affecting early execution and timing. The players learning around noon their team was ranked No. 1 in the country. How should they be affected? Not a personal decision. Rick Pitino will not allow any distractions. An unwelcoming crowd of 16,200 UConn fans awaiting the Cards at the XL Hartford Center, reaching a fever pitch early, taunting the visitors, Pitino describing the student section as “rude and crude” afterwards. The UConn players feeding off their adrenaline, the student frenzy, Big Monday on ESPN, memories of past glories and visions of an upset. All these distractions possible excuses for the early shakiness, resulting in seven straight missed gimmes from point blank range for Gorgui Dieng, Wayne Blackshear and Chane Behanan. Peyton Siva going to the bench with two fouls in four minutes, missing the rest of the half. Two baskets off turnovers but not a single assist in that nightmarish first half. Russ Smith thriving on chaos (UofL photo) Chaotic conditions, the perfect launching pad for Russ Smith to do his thing. Without his point guard partner around, Russ will penetrate time and time again with those impossible, but impossible-to-stop, shots going through the net. Nineteen points in that first half, 23 for the game. Keeping the Cardinals within six points at the intermission. Russ will gladly go with the team concept in the second 20 minutes, handing the leadership back over to Peyton Siva. A fully rested Siva will bring some order, actually running some designed plays, finding his teammates with four actual assists while scoring nine points. He and Smith will make life miserable for the UConn guards, challenged on every dribble, every pass and every shot, running out of adrenaline, resulting in long scoring droughts. With Siva running things, Chane Behanan could begin contributing again, making 14 of his 16 points in the second half. Gorgui Dieng, playing dazed in the first half, was happy to see Siva again, too. While he had 16 rebounds for the night, he missed his first five shots and turned the ball over three times in the first half. He would contribute six points when they were needed in the second, his total for the game. But it was Russ Smith, playing in his element, streaking through the chaos, leaving his mark on this win.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Broncos will franchise tag Demaryius Thomas

Marshawn Lynch on final SB play: 'I was expecting the ball'

Report: Rangers acquire Keith Yandle from Coyotes

Report: Bucs to keep Vincent Jackson under current contract

Twins to limit players' smartphone use on game days

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Shane Battier: Carmelo Anthony is not that tough to guard

Ronda Rousey would be 'happy' to fight Cat Zingano again

Markieff Morris calls out Suns fans after loss

Cowboys to let DeMarco Murray test free agency?

Brock Lesnar attends UFC 184, keeps MMA rumors alive

Dick Vitale will not call Duke-UNC rematch either

PHOTO: Pacquiao has message for Mayweather with t-shirt?

Nuggets break team huddle with countdown to end of season

WATCH: James Harden kicks LeBron in the groin

Jim Harbaugh tells Madonna he respects her toughness

Are the Oakland Raiders finally trending up?

Durant blasts Instagram hater for Westbrook comment

Three potential big signings the Steelers could make

Kevin Garnett buys 1,000 tickets for Timberwolves fans

Michigan fan has incredible Charles Woodson tattoo

WATCH: NIU C brings down basket on dunk

McCown plans to embrace mentoring role with Manziel

Chris Sale out three weeks with foot injury

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Broncos to franchise Demaryius

James Harden kicks LeBron in groin

Lynch: 'I was expecting the ball'

Report: Rangers get Yandle from Coyotes

Harbaugh respects Madonna's grit

Twins to limit game day cell phone use

Kevin Durant blasts hater on Instagram

KG buys 1,000 tickets for T-Wolves fans

Markieff Morris calls out Suns fans

Cowboys letting Murray test market?

Brock Lesnar attends UFC 184

Rousey beats Zingano in 14 seconds

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.