Mahmoud, Spalding live big, Louisville routs Siena

The light switch may have finally been flipped for Anas Mahmoud in an 86-60 win for the University of Louisville over Siena College before a crowd of 17,215 at the KFC Yum! Center. 

Whether the switch remains in the on position depends on whether he continues to be an active participant  or is only passively involved. One can hope that he stays as engaged as he was during the second half. Apparently something he heard at halftime got him going.

Ray Spalding and Jordan Nwora battle for a rebound,with Spalding prevailing this night (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

The 7-foot senior center went from a decent first half to a dominant second half, stuffing the stat sheet — dunking on Siena over and over in final 20 minutes — on his way to a near triple double, with 17 points, 13 rebounds and nine blocked shots.

Mahmoud has shown brief glimpses of potential during the past three seasons but nothing resembling his latest showing, energy that was lacking from him in the team’s two losses. Not like overwhelming Siena is anything to write home about, but at least it’s a start. 

“Ray (Spalding) and I need to make things happen under the basket to take some of the pressure off the guards,” he said after the game. Indeed.  He also could added something about the intensity level he brought to the game in that second half.

Spalding, meanwhile, was scoring 10 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, blocking four shots, and making four steals. Spalding and Mahmoud had managed only two points and nine rebounds in Sunday’s two-point loss to Seton Hall.

So Mahmoud and Spalding came out of their shells, at least temporarily, confirming that they may have the ability to live up to their potential. Nothing to get overly excited about, not until they live up to the talk, the promise, and prove they can do it and do it consistently again better competition.

An indication of whether the switch has really flipped for these guys will come soon enough, with UofL entertaining Indiana at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

University of Louisville no brainer for Ray Spalding

Home grown talent is always the best possible situation, local players having extra incentive to win.

Ray Spalding ended the speculation Sunday, letting everybody know he has committed to pursue his college career at the University of Louisville.

He’s the second four-star basketball player from the community to commit to Hometown U in the past two years.SPALDING,-RAYMOND_6_25_150 Spalding a 6-foot-9, 200-pound center from Trinity High School, will join Quentin Snider from Ballard on the roster during the 2015-16 season. Snider will be a freshman during the upcoming season.

The best possible fit for a youngster who grew up cheering for the Louisville Cardinals, as he told the Courier-Journal on Sunday:

“It’s a blessing and a dream come true. For a humble kid like me coming from Louisville, to be able to say I could play at the university some day, it’s an honor.”

A couple of days earlier, he told the CJ:

“It’s pretty good being a hometown kid getting a hometown (scholarship) offer,” he said Thursday at the Adidas Invitational, where U of L coach Rick Pitino watched his game. “It’s been pretty crazy going from store to store (in Louisville), and (people say), ‘Oh, you’re Raymond Spalding?’ … But it’s been great.”

Spalding averaged 13.4 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks last season in leading Trinity to the semi-finals of the Kentucky High School Basketball Tournament.

Added motivation is a big deal at crunch time.