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.

Record crowd of 800 for Louisville women’s tipoff luncheon

A record crowd of more than 800 people on hand Friday for the annual Tipoff Luncheon for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team at the Downtown Marriott. A following of UofL fans with some big expectations for the 2019-20 season.

Jeff Walz after winning the NCAA Regional in Lexington following the 2017-18 season (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Coach Jeff Walz pleased with the expectations but possibly signaling that this team has a few challenges to overcome. That the current squad may behind some of his better teams coming out of the starting gate.

“You’re going to see a lot of new faces,” he said. “If you’re trying to go from one to 10, and 10 is the best at the end of the season, I’d say we’re starting about a two right now. The past couple years we had a lot of experience returning, making things a little easier, so we were starting at five. 

“We’re starting at two this season because we have six new players. We’re trying to get to know each other, trying to figure out who’s going to do what, who’s going to take over which responsibilities. Who’s going to be the one when we need a basket that is going to get the ball.”

Walz was making no predictions, except there are some exciting times ahead, starting with the season opener against Western Kentucky at the KFC Yum! Center on Tuesday. Followed by four home games against Murray State, Central Michigan, UT Chattanooga and Boise State.

Louisville women’s basketball was third in NCAA attendance last season, attracting 162,021 fans or an average crowd of 9,531 for 17 games.  

Louisville men and women’s teams go with Donovan Mitchell shoes

Donovan Mitchell left Louisville for the NBA following the 2017-18 season. His shoes were on full display during the exhibition game against Bellarmine (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

Donovan Mitchell was between NBA games with the Utah Jazz and couldn’t physically make it for the exhibition game on Tuesday.  But his presence was felt by members of the University of Louisville basketball team.

Most, if not all, of the Louisville players were wearing a version of an Adidas line of shoes — red, yellow or black with pink soles — named in honor of Mitchell and provided to the UofL program. The Mitchell line has been designated as D.O.N. Issue No. 1, the letters standing for “Determination Over Negativity.”

Sports Information Director Kenny Klein confirmed that both the UofL men’s and women’s teams will be wearing Mitchell’s  shoes during the 2019-20 basketball season. “UofL will be the only college basketball teams using the style,” he said.

Mitchell, who left UofL after two seasons, is entering his third season in the NBA after averaging 20.5 and 23.8 points, respectively, during his first and second seasons. He is one of the youngest players ever to have his own line of Adidas shoes.

The former UofL star wanted his shoes to be more affordable to as many  kids as possible and are usually priced under $100. They can be purchased for as little as $43 at DHGate, a Chinese retail site and Card Game advertiser. 

My biggest thing, I just wanted kids to be able to have it,” he told Forbes Magazine. “Growing up as a kid, I loved all of these athletes and I couldn’t afford their shoes.” 

Mitchell often gives his shoes away to young fans following Utah games. Just this week he presented a pair of his newest “Mailman” style to a young Jazz fan involved in a fight for his life against brain cancer.