Nwora ignites Louisville in romp over Southern Illinois

Louisville’s Deng Adel (22) battles Sean Lloyd for a rebound in UofL’s 84-42 win over the Salukis (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Familiar story the first 11 minutes, resembling the first three games. The University of Louisville basketball team struggling to score points, falling behind Southern Illinois University 9-6.

Offense sputtering. Another defensive struggle looming. Time to try something different. 

Jordan Nwora provides immediate energy and point production, leading all scorers with 18 points (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Coach David Padgett will look down the bench, point to 6-foot-8 freshman Jordan Nwora. He will respond immediately, scoring six straight points, with a jumper and a couple of layups to wake up the Cardinal offense, get it moving. 

Nwora would score 10 points, grab four rebounds and make a steal over the next nine minutes. Louisville would wind up coasting to an 84-42 win over SIU before a crowd of 18,046 at the KFC Yum! Center.

Nwora clearly providing the confidence, energy and point production to give UofL the spark it needed to get over the hump. He would capture game-scoring honors with a total of 18 points, eight rebounds and an assist.

David Padgett not reluctant to use freshmen when games are on the line (Cindy Rice Shelton photo)

Jordan is a coach’s son, having played for his father Alex Nwora at the Vermont Academy. His father has since assumed the reins of the Nigeria national team. Been around the game all his life and it shows. He is ready to play, ready to lead. 

Taking some of the defensive pressure off of Deng Adel, giving him more breathing room. Deng will take advantage, scoring 17 points and pulling down eight rebounds.  

Nwora, along with first year players Darius Perry (10), Jacob Redding (6), Lance Thomas (5) and Malik Williams (2), would combine for 41 points, just one-point shy of SIU’s total.

Padgett obviously not sharing his predecessor’s qualms about providing early playing time for incoming freshmen. They may be way ahead of the learning curve under the new boss.

Stormy weather not that bad, Louisville football pummels Syracuse

Quarterback Lamar Jackson and Jaire Alexander embrace after hooking up on a 72-yard touchdown pass play in the second quarter (lead photo). Stormy weather (above) but not the terror the TV weather guys were forecasting (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).
Lamar Jackson prepares to enter Cardinal Stadium for what was what probably the final home game of his career at the University of Louisville (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Nothing could have come close to the scary weather predictions made by Louisville’s TV forecasters during the days leading up to the UofL-Syracuse football game.  A possible storm of the decade it seemed and it was going to be confined to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

The first thing to remember is that wind, rain and/or snow make for great football, creating great memories for the players and fans. The second is that the forecasts are going to be exaggerated, never matching the intensity of the people making them.

As a result lots of loyal UofL football fans were scared off Saturday, not venturing out of their comfort zones. Amazing that some 34,265 were there to enjoy one of Louisville’s most dominant games of the season, a 56-10 win over Syracuse.

Lamar Jackson is the first to congratulate Malik Williams on his 46-yard touchdown in the first quarter (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Nothing special, Cardinal fans have seen much, much worse. The most loyal, the ones who chose to endure the elements, were rewarded Saturday with the honor of seeing what may have been quarterback Lamar Jackson’s final home game at PJCS.

Just another in many big games for him — 230 yards and two touchdowns through the air and 120 yards and two more touchdowns on the ground. Lamar Jackson earned legendary status during his three seasons at UofL.

All the numbers, all the touchdowns, all the memorable moments, probably never to be repeated again by anyone anywhere. Absolutely impossible to exaggerate all that he has accomplished. 

Senior running back Malik Williams, happy to be taking the ball from Jackson, having his best game ever in his final home game — 180 yards rushing, including two touchdowns, including a 46-yard TD on the second play of the game, and a 56-yard run on another play.

Reggie Bonnafon getting a hug from Interim Athletic Director Vince Tyra during Senior Day ceremonies (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Senior Reggie Bonnafon, also playing in his last game at PJCS, continuing to play wherever he was needed, today as a running back and kick returner. He would score two touchdowns in the second quarter — his first on a 33-yard, the second on a 34-yard pass from Jackson.

What a performance from the UofL defense, holding Syracuse to 197 yards rushing and 138 yards passing. Freshman Dorian Etheridge in on 11 tackles, including five solo’s. Senior linebacker Stacy Thomas and freshman C.J. Avery in on seven tackles. Make a note and look ahead, two freshmen for 18 tackles, more to come.

Such an enjoyable game to watch, having learned over the years how to survive the elements at Louisville football games. Great to see the defense emerge from invisibility to becoming an effective force. Nice to once again pummel Syracuse, one of those schools that would have left UofL in a lesser conference.  

We’ve run out of football Saturdays again in Louisville, they always seem to go so quickly. Especially when the Cardinals are playing like they were the last two games.

Hines-Allen leads Louisville women in Michigan thrashing

Michigan appeared to be on the verge of applying the knockout punch to the University of Louisville’s women’s basketball team, the Wolverines up 29-21 with eight minutes to go in the first half, hitting 66% of their shots.

Asia Durr scoring most her 13 points in the second half. Michigan had only 12 that half (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Asia Durr getting off to a slow start, making only one of nine field goal attempts in the first half. Things were about to get out of hand in a semi-final game of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. 

But checking out was not an option, not for Myisha Hines-Allen. She would score six points over the next few minutes, keeping the Cardinals within striking range, cutting the deficit to 37-32 at the half.

An entirely different story the next 20 minutes, Louisville holding Michigan to only 12 points en route to a 74-49 romp before a crowd of 5,651 at the KFC Yum! Center.

Senior Hines-Allen resembling the Hines-Allen of her sophomore year when she was named Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year. Capturing team scoring honors with 19 points and grabbing eight rebounds. All this while holding 6-foot-5 Hallie Thome, a Big Ten standout, to only six points.

Katelynn Flaherty poured in 19 points in the first half for Michigan but was confined to only five in the second half by Arica Carter and Dana Evans. 

The UofL women will face Oregon Sunday at 3 p.m. for the championship of the WNIT. They are 6-0 in the invitational, having won the title in 2013.

 

Tom Jurich should be there for first game in expanded PCJS

Tom Jurich watches as his son, Mark, announces the Thornton’s sponsorship of the Academic Center in 2013 (Charlie Springer photos).

The massive edifice of the north end zone expansion at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium is impressive. Even more so under the lights during a recent home game. A striking preview into the future of University of Louisville football.

When viewing the concrete and steel framework, it’s impossible not to think about Tom Jurich’s impact on the University.  Making UofL athletics nationally competitive in almost every sport, consistently among the top 20 in basketball, baseball, soccer and football.

One has to regret that Tom, who had the vision and the optimism to tackle the project, will probably not be on hand for the official opening on the stadium, which is scheduled Sept. 9, 2018.

Of all the projects TJ has undertaken, this may have been the one he wanted the most. The expansion will be a stunning addition to the stadium,  with the addition of 10,000 seats, including 1,000 club seats, 70 premium boxes and 12 exclusive field-level suites.

One is optimistic that Tom’s son, Mark Jurich, will be an integral part of the ribbon-cutting ceremonies and for the opening home game. Tom had put him in charge of the project, fundraising and all, and he appears to be right on target in terms of fundraising and construction.

What would make the event even more special would be for Tom Jurich there as well. Interim Athletic Director Vince Tyra has said Tom is a good friend and he greatly admires what he accomplished at UofL. Tyra should do everything he can do to make that happen.

Hines-Allen, Jones in control, UofL women pound Toledo

Asia Durr, in feature photo, was back in action, scoring 14 points in 17 minutes. Sophomore Jazmine Jones, above, had her best college game, scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

Toledo was focused on stopping Asia Durr two nights after she set an all-time single game scoring record of 47 points for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team.  She scored only 14 points but she played only 17 minutes in this game.

Myisha Hines-Allen looking for daylight beneath the basket, going on to score 17 points (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

The visiting Rockets discovered there are some other scoring threats on this UofL team — namely Myisha Hines-Allen and Jazmine Jones who each scored 17 points apiece and pulled down 10 rebounds. Plenty of power in the middle for the Cards this season, with Kylie Shook coming through with eight rebounds and four points.

Louisville a 90-55 winner before a crowd of 5,444 at the KFC Yum!

Freshman Dana Evans getting tons of playing time and filling up the stats sheet during her 27 minutes — six points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and, whoops, five turnovers. She’s a high energy player, confident and assertive. 

Junior Sydney Zambrotta also impressing Coach Jeff Walz with her defensive intensity, seeing 16 minutes on the floor, actually starting in the second half. Her 3-point shot still beautiful, sinking both of her attempts. She also pulled in three rebounds and was credited with a couple of assists.

The UofL women, ranked fifth in this week’s Associated Press poll, will host 24th ranked Michigan at 7 p.m. Thursday.