Brendan McKay and company were more than ready for the conference portion of the University of Louisville baseball season to begin on Friday. The Cardinals would post a 3-0 win over Pittsburgh before a crowd of 995 fans in 50-degree temperatures at Jim Patterson Stadium.
McKay continuing his impressive start to the 2017 season, fanning seven of the first nine batters he faced while racking up a total of 15 strikeouts for the game.
The 6-foot-2 lefthander would allow only three Pittsburgh batters to reach base in seven innings, giving up two singles and a base on balls. The Panthers were held hitless until the fourth inning when Frank Maldanado reached base on a drive to right.
McKay entered the game with an 0.84 earned run average, raising his won-lost record to 3-0 for the season. The win improved UofL’s record to 13-0 overall and 1-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
He would be held hitless himself for the first time this season in four at-bats. One of them was a sacrifice fly, however, driving in a Louisville run in the third inning. McKay’s batting average is still a hefty .613.
Reliever Lincoln Henzman preserved the shutout for McKay, entering the game in the eighth, striking out three batters, giving up one base on balls but allowing no hits.
Complete run-aways are rare in college basketball these days, even more rare for the University of Louisville which prides itself on defense and, more often than not, struggles on offense.
Not this night.
UofL had its act together, clicking on all cylinders, denying the Panthers any semblance of self-respect in a 106-51 win on Pitt’s home court Tuesday. Louisville jumping on top 51-18 at the half and never looking back.
Such a thorough and complete trouncing that Pitt coach Kevin Stallings had had enough, collecting two early technical fouls, allowed to leave the game early. Actually he was ejected, but he really didn’t want to be there.
Donovan Mitchell, highly motivated following a six-point performance in the loss to Florida State, taking his game to a new level. Fearless, aggressive, confident, his best collegiate performance with 29 total points, including hitting six of eight shots from behind the 3-point line.
Anas Mahmoud, resembling Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at times, making up for a disappearing act against Florida State. Some day soon, hopefully in late March, he’s going to put three or four good games together. Making all seven of his shots in this one for 14 points. Couple of blocks, one of them traveling half way down court, and two steals.
Ryan McMahon maybe providing a preview of his future, drilling five of eight 3-point attempts. Five assists is equally impressive.
Louisville has now won the last 10 games against Pittsburgh. Never taking the Panthers lightly, unfortunately for them.
Things were going swell for the University of Louisville basketball team, amassing a 26-point lead over Pittsburgh early in the second half, the Cardinals possibly expecting the Panthers to roll over.
Or maybe it was just taking Kevin Stallings’ team until the 17:16 mark in the second half to figure out how to compete with Louisville. Fortunately, Pittsburgh would run out of clock, UofL hanging for an 85-80 decision before 21,558 fans.
A learning opportunity for the visiting Panthers, which may be better prepared when UofL travels to Pittsburgh for a rematch in less than two weeks on Jan. 24.
Not a big secret about how the Panthers made it a game — just get the ball to Jamel Artis and let him shoot. The 6-foot-7 senior, who had 11 points in the first half, would connect on 11 of 15 shots, including seven 3-pointers and six of eight free throws, for 43 points for the night.
“It was a tale of two halves,” said Coach Rick Pitino afterwards. “We played brilliantly in the first half. But in the second, we constantly got beat on the dribble. Our guys kept backing up and letting them have 3-point shots.”
Pittsburgh would, in fact, make eight 3-pointers in that second half, winding up with 12 for the game.
“Our team this year is fundamentally not very sound,” said Pitino. “We are a rebuilding team. But when I say rebuilding, I mean we have to rebuild this year. I’m very disappointed in how we attacked the 1-3-1 zone. Quentin Snider figured it out at the end and we were able to finish the game.”
Snider would lead the Cardinals in scoring with 22, scoring 11 of them in the second half. Donovan Mitchell, Deng Adel and Ray Spalding would contribute 15, 15 and 11 points, respectively.
The lack of fundamentals hindering UofL on a lot of fronts, including converting turnovers into points, missing numerous close-in shots, and losing focus on defense. “We’ve got a lot of work to do in a short period of time to improve the basics,” he said. “This is a great group of players to coach, great guys, but needing a lot of work.”
Pittsburgh looking forward to a second chance and even more time to figure UofL out, next time on the Panthers’ home court.
The University of Louisville women’s basketball team defeated a good Pittsburgh team 73-52 Sunday at the KFC Yum! Center using a lot of reserves. Some of their counterparts spending more time than usual watching from the bench.
Coach Jeff Walz concerned lately about slow starts and a lack of killer instinct, using the game against the Panthers to send a message to some of his starters. Demanding their attention.
No time to waste with the eighth-ranked Cardinals facing fifth-ranked Florida State in Tallahassee on Thursday. The Seminoles are 15-2 overall, having lost only to UConn by two points and North Carolina State by nine.
Asia Durr seeing only 14 minutes on the floor, all of them in the first half. Stuck on the bench after hitting one of nine field goal attempts for three points. Walz said after the game Durr looked tired and didn’t play in the second half because UofL didn’t need her.
Myisha Hines-Allen 13 minutes in the first half, 19 for the game. Courtnee Walton 5 minutes in the first half, and a total of 17 minutes. Probably because they were unable to contain Pittsburgh senior Brandi Harvey-Carr from having the best game of her career with 25 points.
Mariya Moore acknowledging that UofL may have had trouble focusing after taking a 34-25 lead at the intermission, allowing Pittsburgh to cut the lead to two points early in the second half. “It was a lack of focus,” she said. “We weren’t all together on the same page and they capitalized on our mistakes.”
Moore getting plenty of playing time, making the most of her 30 minutes with 18 points, four rebounds and three steals. She hit six of six free throws for all of her six points in the first half before making good on three of eight 3-point attempts in the second half.
Some freshmen making the most of the extra minutes, including Jazmine Jones, Cierra Johnson and Kylee Shook, with 13, 11 and 7 points, respectively. A good time to grow their games, with Florida State straight ahead.
Darth Vadar, Princess Leia and Kylo Ren, aka Mike, Theresa and Aspen Schmidt, were among the 11,641 fans watching the Louisville women demolish Pittsburgh on Star Wars Day at the KFC Yum! Center.
The Force fully embraced the University of Louisville women’s basketball team three days earlier when the Cardinals dissected 17th-ranked Miami on the Hurricanes’ home court, giving UofL sole possession of second place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Characters from the seven different Star Wars movies arrived Sunday at the KFC Yum! Center to see the UofL women conclude the regular season, Darth Vadar was everywhere it seemed, usually in the company of Princess Leia, or Yoda. Boba Fet here, Chewbacca there, Yoda here, and Storm Troopers everywhere. The visiting Pittsburgh women never had a chance, The Force so prominent, so pervasive, so obviously leaning UofL’s way.
The Louisville women erupted early, claiming a 14-0 lead, stretching it to 27-4, and and 42-10 at the end of the first half. When it was all over, UofL had prevailed 65-36, improving its overall record to 24-6 and claiming the runner-up spot in the ACC with a 15-1 record.
Leading the charge again was Myisha Hines-Allen, scoring nine of Louisville’s first 10 points after tipoff. She would score 13 points in the first quarter, going on to achieve her ninth double-double of the season and 10th of her career, with 25 points on 11-of-14 shooting and 13 rebounds.
“We had a lot of energy coming out,” said sophomore Myisha Hines-Allen, in a possible thinly-veiled reference to The Force. Whatever, Hines-Allen has been imposing her will on ACC opponents with regularity of late.
“She’s just a really tough matchup right now for a lot of people,” said UofL Coach Jeff Walz, “and if she continues – you’re getting 25 points on 14 shots – that’s pretty darn good.”
Briahanna Jackson continuing to feel The Force as well, an inexhaustible source of energy, the player nobody wants defending them. No breathing while she’s around. She’s a marvel to watch around the basket, sometimes getting ahead of herself but always entertaining to watch. Notching 12 points, three rebounds and four assists.
Taja Cole coming around, notching six points and five assists in this one.
* * *
Courtnee Walson left midway in the first quarter and didn’t return after injuring a pinky finger. She should be ready to go again in the ACC Tournament.
The second-seeded Cardinals will play at 6 p.m. on Friday against the winner of No. 7-seed Georgia Tech and No. 10 Wake Forest/No. 15 Clemson.
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