Louisville football and those defensive cliffhangers

Admit it. One was certain if North Carolina State had scored on that fourth and five with 50 seconds to go, the Wolfpack would have been back in teh red zone a couple plays later.

Familiar script. Onside kick, couple of pass plays, back in the red zone. Similar to scary endings in all the University of Louisville football team’s wins in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season.

Except that this UofL defense, which has given up a ton of yards in the final two minutes of, would somehow bat the football away. Specifically, Louisville’s Chandler Jones denying NC State’s Emeka Emezie the ball in the end zone. Giving UofL a 34-20 victory.

The UofL defense has had more than its share of challenges this season, worn out, hanging on for dear life at times, seemingly needing a break to survive. But anyone who kn0ws football, who saw them give up so many times last season, knows that the group has made gigantic strides this year.

All suspense has taken a toll on Louisville football fans. More importantly, however, the defensive unit is learning as it goes, getting smarter if not stronger, somehow overcoming a serious lack of depth. Competing until the very end.

Coach Scott Satterfield has been successful in vastly improving UofL’s won-lost record at 6-4 and the Cardinals eligible for a post season bowl selection. In the process, he is building a strong foundation for success next season and beyond.

But for now, the last-second histrionics will continue to be the norm..

 

Big sisters show the way for Louisville women

Jazmine Jones having way more than her share of fun, leading all scorers with 25 points, and the Louisville women would need every basket (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

Hard to get worked up about Central Michigan, despite all the warnings from Coach Jeff Walz about how this ordinary looking team would give his University of Louisville women’s basketball team all it could handle.

Walz was right as usual, with Louisville having to fight, claw and scrap for 40 minutes before emerging with a 76-63 win before 7,605 fans at the KFC Yum! Center. The visiting Chippewas hanging around all night, waiting for the Cardinals to falter but but it wasn’t going to happen.

Nobody celebrates a win better than Jazmine Jones (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

The veterans keeping the youngsters out of harm’s way, providing the knockout touches for UofL:

— Jazmine Jones with one of her best all-around performances, 10 of 13 , field goal attempts, four of five from the free throw line for a game-high 25 points. Complementing her game with nine rebounds, three steals and two assists. 

— Dana Evans refusing to wilt, hitting six of 18 field goal attempts, including two 3-pointers, and 10 of 11 from the free throw line for a career high 24 points. 

— Kylee Shook continuing to improve, picking up almost 26 minutes of playing time off the bench. Making the most of her time, with five field goals and five of six from the free throw line for 15 points. Her second consecutive double-double this year, thanks to those fabulous 12 rebounds. Those five blocks were amazing, too.

— Mykasas Robinson all business as usual, getting only one point but playing shutdown defense, coming up with three steals and two assists.

The upperclassman showing the newcomers what it takes to survive at times, improving UofL record to 3-0 for the season. Gonna need more help from the newcomers sooner than later.

No time to be upset, Louisville rolls over Indiana State

Jordan Nwora goes up for three of his 21 points (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

Always a good sign when Jordan Nwora makes his first three-point attempt, setting a positive tone for his University of Louisville teammates. Quickly squelching concerns about whether there was going to be another upset in the commonwealth.

Never any question, not with Nwora sinking his first 3-pointer 39 seconds in the game. UofL making nine of its first 10 shots, racing out to 27-13 lead. Respecting their Missouri Valley Conference opponent, not overlooking anyone, overwhelming Indiana State 91-62.

Nwora with 14 points, including two threes, in the first half, winding up with 21 for the night. Still another offensive show for him, but he was also adding five rebounds and a couple of assists.

No surprise, just Samuell Williamson living up to expectations with 15 points and five rebounds (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Best of news for UofL fans is that he has some offensive help this season. Among the supporting cast is Dwayne Sutton who was recording his first double-double this year with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Then there is Samuell Williamson, with 15 points and five rebounds, the best performance of his young career.

Lamarr Kimble, a graduate transfer from St. Joseph’s, finally getting comfortable in a Cardinal uniform, winding up with 13 points, four rebounds and three assists. Ryan McMahon making three of four 3-point attempts for nine points, two assist and zero turnovers.

Indiana State would manage to stay within 11 points at the 16 minute mark in the second half. But that was as close as they would get the rest of the way. Not a chance of an upset this night.

Gallery photos courtesy of Cindy Rice Shelton:

UofL fans have to prioritize with overlapping, packed schedules

More than a few future Cardinals turning out for University of Louisville men’s and women’s basketball games over the weekend (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

College basketball is back en masse for University of Louisville fans even though November has yet to reach the halfway point.  Competing head on with college and pro football  just weeks into their seasons.

Some complaints about attendance following the UofL men’s 78-55 win over Youngstown State on Sunday, a game that attracted 14,761 people at the KFC Yum! Center.  Not to worry, still the best attended game among more than half a dozen games in college basketball on Sunday.

Lamar Jackson was the main attraction at the Baltimore Ravens game at Cincinnati on Sunday (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

What the belly-achers weren’t taking into consideration was the fact that former UofL quarterback Lamar Jackson was leading the Baltimore Ravens to a 49-13 win over the Bengals in Cincinnati. The NFL game started an hour before the basketball game, and attracted hundreds if not thousands of UofL fans, with many more watching on TV at home.

Jackson expressing his appreciation to all of the Louisville people making the trek, many of them decked out in red UofL football jerseys or purple Ravens’ jerseys. Like a homecoming for Jackson, coming to Cincinnati and seeing all those Cardinal fans.

“I think we had half a city of Louisville in the stadium,” said Ravens Coach John Harbaugh.

An unforgettable day on the field, too, with Lamar Jackson throwing for three touchdowns in a near-perfect passing performance and adding a legendary 47-yard scoring run that will be added to the all-time NFL highlights reel.

The UofL women improving their record to 2-0 start with a 76-40 win over Murray State before 7,992 fans for a 76-40 win over Murray State. Jeff Walz still looking for the right combinations, getting 14 point and 13 point performances from Jazmine Jones and Kylee Shook, respectively.

Meanwhile, the Louisville football team getting its ass handed to it in a 52-27 loss at Miami. The Cardinals gaining the Hurricanes offensively 496 to 449 yards but unable to defend a freshman quarterback. Getting burned on a school-record six touchdown passes.

Louisville athletics demanding our attention with a crowded schedule, only so much of us to go around.  Men’s and women’s games overlapping at times. Enough with the attendance gripes, please.

Gallery courtesy of Cindy Rice Shelton

Louisville women dispatch Western Kentucky in opener

As he entered the opening game against Western Kentucky, Coach Jeff Walz was looking for someone who will take control when the going gets tense for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team.  Walz is probably still looking that certain someone after a 75-56 win.

Elizabeth Balogun was hot in her UofL debut, the transfer from Georgia Tech hitting five of six three-point attempts.

Gotta keep a close eye on newcomer Elizabeth Balogun, a sophomore transfer from Georgia Tech. She hit all four of her three-point shots in the first half, including the one that gave UofL a nine-point lead at intermission. She would wind up with 15 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Dana Evans, meanwhile, was scoring a game-high 19 points while handing out three assists, grabbing two rebounds and a steal. Elizabeth Dixon, another sophomore transfer from Georgia Tech, registered a double-double on 10 points and 13 rebounds in her debut as a Cardinal. Norika Konno, a freshman from Japan, was a steady performer, collecting nine points.

Yacine Diop and Kylee Shook both slow getting out of the gate, scoring a total of four points between them in 27 minutes of playing time.

Attendance was 8,304. Louisville entertains Murray State on Friday at the KFC Yum! Center.

Photo gallery courtesy of Cindy Rice Shelton.