Games against Western Kentucky often provide a measure of how far along a University of Louisville basketball team has advanced during the pre-conference portion of the schedule. However, a 78-55 win over WKU without its two top scorers is not a good indication of much of anything meaningful.
Not normally anyway. But there were definitely some things to get excited about in this game.
Fans wanting to see Montrezl Harrell and Chane Behanan on the floor together got their wish. Harrell taking up the slack for the missing Gorgui Dieng, making the best of the extra playing time, not letting the elbow in the nose in the first half slow him down. Pulling down six rebounds, four blocks and 13 points.Behanan making those turn-around jumpers early, collecting seven rebounds and 14 points.
Wayne Blackshear is getting there, maybe there already in fact, going up with confidence, knowing he’s going to hit his shots, using his quickness well on both ends of the court. Blackshear going to the backboards, too, claiming possession on eight missed shots.
Kevin Ware, yes, he’s coming along, too, shaking off the uncertainty, the awkwardness, finding the basket, looking better than ever, making three of his four shots for six shots. But it’s those long arms on defense that are opening up more playing time for him.
Russ Smith may still be feeling some effects of that ankle turn in the game against Memphis but one wouldn’t know it. He led his team with 20 points but was four of 11 from the floor. That steal, the mad rush down court, and the slam dunk with 1:43 remaining making a lot of highlight videos.