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

UMass to retire jersey in honor of John Calipari

Houston Texans are moving on from Andre Johnson

Top landing spots for Darrelle Revis

Mets: Murphy will no longer discuss his religious beliefs

Randall Cobb rejects contract proposal from Packers

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Peyton Manning to take $4 million pay cut with Broncos

Kevin Durant has ‘no doubt’ he’ll return this season

Sidney Rice, Steve Weatherford to donate brains for research

Bills acquire Matt Cassel from Vikings

Report: Free agents ‘leery’ of Chip Kelly after McCoy trade

Report: Steelers hoping Troy Polamalu retires

Nobody’s safe in the NFL and nothing is sacred

Arizona Diamondbacks unveil 'The Churro Dog'

Ray Allen announces he will not play this season

Are the Suns built for the present as well as the future?

Ndamukong $uh billboards springing up all over Detroit

WATCH: Russian youth hockey teams brawl in handshake line

Prince played high school basketball in Minnesota

Thoughts on how the Eagles got to the end of the 'Shady' era

David Wright called out prospect for eating during scrimmage

Murray State pitcher’s leg kick is entirely out of hand

Panthers sign emergency goalie during game due to injuries

Tim Lincecum’s last best chance

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

Nobody’s safe in the NFL and nothing is sacred

Tim Lincecum’s last best chance

Ten most underrated players in the NBA

Stevens: LeBron looks like the MVP

Spiller: EJ Manuel learned not to be 'buddy buddy' with everyone

Ten most underrated NFL free agents

Five potential landing spots for Andre Johnson

Texas-Baylor fight leads to 7 ejections

Mark Cuban will be Prez in 'Sharknado 3'

Report: Redskins interested in Suh

Report: Revis likely to hit free agency

Steve Spurrier joins Twitter

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.