Louisville passes Missouri test, Duke straight ahead

The celebrating should wait if that’s possible. At least there is no dancing in front of the bench.

Duke straight ahead, with the brains to go with the brawn … and some would caution the close officiating calls as well.

Just a minute, though, to treasure 40 full minutes of everything coming together for the University of  Louisville basketball team in an 84-61 win over 13th-ranked Missouri.

Russ Smith, Peyton Siva and Luke Hancock turning Phil Pressey over eight times between his eight assists and 15 points.

  • Hancock hitting five of seven three-point attempts, just as Bob Valvano had predicted would happen during a crucial game on the road. Wanting the ball, wanting to shoot, no fear. Make that 19 points.
  • Russ, with his hyper-frenetic pace, know-no-fear, in-your-face ball hawking, with five steals, three assists and five rebounds. He’s every ball handler’s nightmare, as well as the game manager while Siva is on the bench. Those 18 points just two below his season average.
  • Siva looking more like the Peyton of last March, penetrating, finding open teammates,  shooting confidently, arriving just in time, needing a good one before the Saturday’s showdown.
  • Stephan Van Treese providing the bulk with Gorgui Dieng on the bench, going gut to gut with Alex Oriakhi, not backing down, keeping the Missouri giant under control. Eat, Gorgui, keep eating, put on the pounds.
  • Wayne Blackshear, looking better that shot of his every game, accompanied by a growing confidence. When he gets it all back, he’s going to get those questionable calls as well.
  • Tim Henderson, with that uncertain look during his one minute of playing time, with that thread-the-needle pass in the final seconds of the first half, one he will be reliving for a lifetime.
  • Gogui is overdue, time to turn in a good one. He’s come too far to turn back now.
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Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.