Memphis shaves deficit, Louisville beards

No reason to fret over a temporary setback. First loss in March since 2011.

A Memphis team, coming off a loss to an overlooked opponent, facing arch rival Louisville, playing on its home court with fans whipped into a lather, some of them paying outlandish ticket prices.

Memphis badly wanting a win, almost out of it with UofL owning an eight-point lead with 4:23 remaining. Whoops, somebody celebrating a bit too early.

Memphis still hungry, running on adrenaline, taking advantage of the drop in intensity, defeating Louisville 72-66, lusting coming true for the Memphians, sending the visitors to the barber shop.

Montrezl Harrell playing the game of his career, dominating every phase of the game until the closing minutes. Fearless, an uncommon man among ordinary men, strong, shaking off Memphis defenders like fleas. When he wasn’t plumbing the basket, Harrell was finding it from the outside. Collecting 25 points and 12 rebounds in an unforgettable performance.

Russ Smith off to another sizzling performance against a good opponent, scoring 14 points with the University of Louisville trailing Memphis 24-20 at the 8:01 mark in the first half. He would cool off dramatically shortly thereafter, however, failing to hit on three shot attempts, including two Russ Smith-type layups.

Russ would manage a couple of layups and find Harrell for a dunk in the second half but that was about the extent of his productivity. While the official stats reveal only two turnovers, the play-by-play indicates at least three of them. The fatal turnover would come with the score tied at 65-65 with 2:41 remaining. Russ would miss three shot attempts before fouling out with 40 seconds to go.

Twenty minutes Russ probably wants to forget but needs to learn from if UofL is to get back in rhythm.

Chris Jones unceremoniously returning home to Memphis, more than a little tight, hitting only one of 10 shots, finding only one assist while twice turning the ball over. Hopefully has it out of his system, with another homecoming in a couple of weeks in the American Athletic Conference tournament.

Mangok Mathiang reverting to familiar form, credited with two rebounds and two turnovers. Nothing close to a block in this one.

Stephan Van Treese surprised himself hitting two of two free throws after being jabbed by a Memphis player. Made a couple of rebounds and clogged up the middle at times. Running out of time to get better.

Nothing fans haven’t seen before this season, Louisville losing to a ranked opponent for the fifth time in six tries. The only difference this time the early celebrating, something the players will keep in mind as they trim their collective beard.

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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.

1 thought on “Memphis shaves deficit, Louisville beards”

  1. Charlie, It seems that the team is maturing at a steady pace. Going into Memphis for a “Final Four” type game, can only make this team more solid. Mistakes were made, exuberation was shown too early, Memphis played a helluva game and we still can’t hit free throws.

    I say we make some teams sweat in the tournament(s).

    Go Cards.

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