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.
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.
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.