Behind a dominant performance from Russ Smith, Louisville topped Uconn 73-58. This was the first regular season game in program history that Louisville has played ranked as the #1 team in the AP Poll.
Russ Smith was brilliant and kept the Cardinals in the game early. His 23 points all seemed to be at his own will. His reckless abandon to the basket payed off and he shined on the national stage. To the point where people in postgame were calling for him to be National Player of the Year.
Peyton Siva got into foul trouble early and had to sit out almost the entire first half causing Louisville’s offense to seemingly lag. If there was one thing to learn from this game it was the importance of Siva in the lineup. When Siva came into the game in the second half, it was basically a brand new team on the floor. Especially on defense proven as in the first half Uconn scored 34 points compared to their 24 in the second half. Usually those two numbers are flipped. Offensively Siva finished with 11 Pts, 4 Ast, and 3 Rbs.
Chane Behanan’s ankle injury is forgotten about now. Behanan is almost unstoppable when he gets the ball off an offensive rebound or if he puts his mind to getting a rebound. Behanan earned player of the game honors after filling the stat sheet with 16 Pts, 9 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl, and 1 Blk. Gorgui Dieng also helped to control the post as he pulled down 16 rebounds and had 2 blocks. Montrezl Harrell didn’t play much due to flu-like symptoms.
Wayne Blackshear was very aggressive early in the game then seemed to disappear the rest of the time. Blackshear seems to have the ability to just become disappear in the middle of a game, kind of like Kyle Kuric used to. Blackshear had a block land on Sportscenter’s Top Ten list. He ended with 9 Pts, 2 Rbs, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, and 1 Blk.
Louisville really backed up their ranking after completely obliterating Uconn in the second half, 45-25. Louisville will take on #6 Syracuse in the Yum Center on Saturday at 4 p.m. EST.