“Well, if we could duplicate the first half we could be a pretty good basketball team. If we can put together two halves like the first half, we’ll be a pretty good basketball team.” Those were the words of Rick Pitino after tonight’s 81 – 60 win over Bellarmine in Louisville’s final exhibition game.
The first half saw Louisville do nearly everything right and Bellarmine doing nothing right. Just how bad was it for the Knights? They were 3 – 16 for a paltry 18.8 percent in the first half while U of L was 18 – 34 for 52.9 percent from the field. They were 1 – 7 from three point range while U of L was 7 – 14. They had 16 turnovers to Louisville’s five. This led to the Cardinals holding a monstrous 49 – 17 lead at the half.
The second half gave Pitino plenty of coaching ammunition for his team. They were outscored 43 – 32 and shot just 41.9 percent from the field. Defensively they let Bellarmine shoot 54.3 percent from the field.
Perhaps, the thing that got Pitino’s ire the most was the lack of passing in the second half. The Cardinals had eight assists in the first half, but only three in the second. Pitino said, “Well our guys didn’t pass the ball. Donovan was interested in scoring, Q (Quentin Snider) was interested in scoring and when they get to the level where a pass is more important than their score, that’s when you’ll have a really good offensive basketball team. It’s been there, and I give them a lot of credit, it’s been there, tonight it wasn’t there. Sometimes when you play for a lead, you hunt shots more than hunting the pass. The mature thing is hunt to pass.”
Donovan Mitchell and Deng Adell led the Cardinals in scoring with 13 points each. However, they only had one assist between them.
Graduate transfer, Tony Hicks, played a much better game than the first as he scored 12 points and had two assists in only 12 minutes of action.
Bellarmine was led by George Knott who scored 15 points and made 6 of his 7 shots from the field. Adam Eberhard was their other double figure scorer finishing with 13 points. Rusty Troutman, Bellarmine’s All-American candidate, was held to nine points on 2 – 10 from the field, but did grab a team high nine rebounds.
Louisville’s next game is this Friday against the Evansville Purple Aces at the KFC Yum Center at 7:00.