A slow start could not derail the No. 11 Louisville Cardinals on Saturday against Eastern Kentucky. The Colonels scored the game’s first seven points. They led for the first 11 minutes of the game. The game was tied at 16 with 7:06 remaining in the first half. The Cards then scored the final 22 points of the half to take a 36 – 16 halftime lead.
EKU would go nearly 10 minutes without scoring as Louisville easily rolled to an 87 – 56 victory.
“We started out a little slow because we broke down on what we practiced, said Rick Pitino. I think that gave the other team some momentum and confidence, but once we move the basketball, once we stay with our principles of what we wanted to do, we played much better.”
The starting backcourt of Quentin Snider and Donovan Mitchell led the way for the Cards. Snider used his own 8 – 0 run to put the Cards ahead 24 – 16 in the first half and finished with 13 points and 6 assists. Mitchell finished with a game high 15 points and 7 rebounds.
Anas Mahmoud came back to the lineup after missing three games due to a concussion. He led the block party for the Cards, finishing with five blocks. U of L finished with a season high 14 blocks. Pitino said, “When we get Anas [Mahmoud] back, we’re a better shot-blocking team. Ray [Spalding] and Anas are the two best shot blockers on the team.” Spalding finished with 4 blocks to go along with his 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals.
Now the Cards are on to their toughest stretch of the season. It may be the toughest four game stretch of any season since Pitino has been the head coach. The Cards face in-state rival No. 6 Kentucky on Wednesday at 7:00 in the KFC Yum Center. Then it is on to face Indiana, Virginia, and Notre Dame.
Pitino is not sure what to expect from his team during this upcoming stretch going so far as saying, “It’s going to be a really tough game, but the whole four games is going to be a tough stretch. We could go four-and-0 or 0-and-four, who knows.”