Louisville started slow but ended up rallying to beat Memphis 87-78.
The game was built up all week to be less of the rivalry game that Louisville fans remembered and more of a “friendly” rivalry. Well you could tell from the start that wasnt the case, it got very physical, very quickly. To put it in perspective, how many times can you say that every 5 minutes there someone was on the floor hurt or limping to the bench. Russ Smith suffered an ankle sprain, Montrezl Harrell and Chane Behanan were both seen shaken up, Stephen Van Tresse was banged up also.
Russ Smith went down after landing on a Memphis players foot, following through on a shot. He was unable to put any weight through the foot while walking back to the bench. They taped him up and took him into the tunnel to test it out. When he came back out, you could tell he wasn’t healthy. He couldnt make a move to get past anybody and he could not elevate.
Then halftime happened and Russ Smith seemingly came out like the Russ Smith we are used to seeing. He did not play as much but when he was in the game he brought the energy we we needed. Smith ended with close to his season average with 19 points. Smith picked up a lot of his points late in the game when Memphis was playing the foul game, he was 12-12 from the free throw line.
Chane Behanan led the team in scoring with 22 points and looked like the player we saw in March last year. His ability to will his way to the basket when on the block took over and led him to his best game of the young season.
Peyton Siva stuffed the stat sheet with 19 Pts, 4 Reb, 7 Ast, and 1 Blk. At one point in the first half Memphis was up 25-9 and completly out hustling Louisville. Peyton Siva came down on 3 straight possessions and attacked the basket, sparking a fire that was much needed. Louisville went on a run after that to cut the lead to only 7 at half.
This improved Louisville to 9-1 on the season. The next game will be a home game against Florida International on Wednesday.
Other notable stat lines:
Wayne Blackshear: 8 Pts, 2 Rbs, 2 Ast, 1 Blk
Luke Hancock: 11 Pts, 3 Rbs, 1 Ast, 3 Stl
Montrezl Harrel: 3 Pts, 6 Rbs, 2 Stls (31 mins)