“I really didn’t want to wear the white suit today, I was ready for a change,” he said, adding that he had been warned by his wife, his niece and daughter that not wearing the suit would be bad luck. So he changed his mind, opting for the old reliable.
Five minutes into the game, Pitino was having second thoughts. His team had missed all five shots, including three layups, turned the ball over twice and Gorgui Dieng already had his first foul. Oh yeah, his team was behind 9-1 and nothing was working.
“I wished I was wearing a black suit at that point,” he said. That was when he pulled Montrezl Harrell off the bench, sending him in for Chane Behanan, and the game would take a dramatic turn.
Harrell would deliver right on cue, intercepting a Marquette pass, taking it the length of the court for a dunk. From then on, it was just a matter of time, UofL finally tying the game 16-16 at the 9:18 mark on a layup by Wayne Blackshear and taking the lead for good at 21-18 on a three-pointer by Russ Smith.
A textbook win over a good Marquette team, poised to take over the top spot in the Big East Conference. No last minute heroics required in a game that reaffirmed for Pitino that his team has what it takes to be a contender in March.
Russ Smith playing in control, making three assists, two of six three-point shots, leading all scorers with 18 points.
Peyton Siva spending his time outside the lane most of the game, a shooter again, turning in 14 points and seven assists.
Gorgui managing to stay out of foul trouble, thanks to 15 minutes of relief from Stephan Van Treese, contributing eight points and eight rebounds. Van Treese with three rebounds and four points.
UofL would dominate Marquette in all phases of the game, holding the Golden Eagles to 35.8% from the field, preventing them from taking over the No. 1 spot in the Big East, serving notice that Louisville still has its sights on that spot and something much, much bigger in March.
The white suit had played a role again.