Myisha Hines-Allen making her mark in the ACC

Need a basket bad, absolutely have to have it? Find Myisha Hines-Allen, get the ball to her.

Still another clutch performance for Hines-Allen in the University of Louisville’s 74-59 win over Virginia in a bruising women’s college basketball game at the KFC Yum! Center. A crowd of 8,736 hanging around to the very end.

Asia Durr contributes two of her 15 points.
Asia Durr contributes two of her 15 points.

When Virginia gets within two points at 42-40, Myisha venturing into the paint again, no fear of the bumping and slapping, hitting a jumper. She’s back again less than a minute later, making another jumper, stretch the lead to 46-40 late in the third quarter. That would be as close as Virginia would get the rest of the night.

Myisha gets most of her points the hard way, rarely attempting 3-point shots. She would collect 22 points in this one, making good on nine of 15 field goal attempts and four of four free throw attempts for a game-high 22 points. She would also claim 11 rebounds. Her eighth double-double of the season, the ninth of her career and her eighth 20-point-plus outing of the season.

She’s for real folks, sometimes getting off to deceptively slow starts, steadily adjusting her sights, zeroing in, gathering momentum, making opponents pay. Not that it matters to her, but she could be difficult to ignore when the Atlantic Coast Conference selects a player of the year.

Plenty of credit to go around, an exceptional team effort required to get by an improving Virginia team that will make some noise in the ACC tournament. Mariya Moore, Asia Durr, and Briahanna Jackson scoring 18, 15 and 11 points, respectively. Courtnee Walton playing all 40 minutes, collecting 10 rebounds, two blocks and two steals.

Regular season rapidly nearing an end, the final home game against Pittsburgh on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 12:30 p.m.

Louisville fails litmus test against Virginia

Nothing was gong right for the University of Louisville basketball team. Virginia had jumped out to a 29-14 lead at half time.

Damian Lee, Trey Lewis, Chinanu Onuaku, Donovan Mitchell, Anas Mahmoud and Jaylen Johnson had been held scoreless. Not even close to making a basket.

Quentin Snider had scored UofL’s first five points, one of them a 3-pointer, but except for four free throws, he was done for the day.

No chance. Virginia an easy 63-47 winner in a game that was nowhere near as close as the final score.

Quentin Snider takes on four Virginia defenders to no avail.
Quentin Snider takes on four Virginia defenders to no avail.

Louisville would somehow manage to score 33 points in the second half but never seriously threaten. Embarrassed and rendered helpless in front of a crowd of 21,714 fans on a White Out Day.

Ray Spalding and Deng Adel would lead UofL in scoring with 12 points piece, Spaulding cleaning up miscues around the rim and Adel a couple of three’s after the game had been decided.

Poor Rick Pitino had nowhere to hide in his latest white suit, failing to motivate his team, no danger of a comeback, never a hint of a rally. True to form, totally predictable, the coach would complain about his team’s lack of intensity on defense.

What was missing on Saturday, however, was any semblance of an offense. Largely because Virginia was beating Louisville at its own game, providing serious challenges to every shot attempted by UofL players.

Lee and Lewis looking lost, taking completely out of the equation, managing only six and four points, respectively. Onuaku, who had been sick during the week, failed to get a rebound and scored only one point.

Pitino said he saw it coming because his team hadn’t been playing good defense in recent games.

One has to respect his opinion but Virginia wasn’t exactly a scoring machine. What was painfully obvious was that UofL had no answers on either offense or defense on Saturday.

Radcliff churns for 146 yards, Louisville outlasts Virginia

Nobody would have been surprised had the Louisville-Virginia football game come down to a field goal again. The first three games between the teams had been decided by field goals, exhilarating for the victors, heartbreaking for the losers.

So when Virginia goes for an onside kick, trailing by seven points with 51 seconds to go, and manages to recover the ball, one can’t be blamed for thinking here we go again.

Virginia is offsides on the kickoff, however, and has to kick again. No last minute heroics, no last second miracles. This time the ball is covered by Louisville.  No need or reason for any field goals.

Kyle Bolin
Kyle Bolin

UofL will win 38-31 to tie the all-time series with the Cavaliers at 2-2. The sixth win in last seven games this season, becoming bowl eligible in front of a crowd of 51,233 fans at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

Kyle Bolin calling the signals for UofL a second game in a row, feeling a lot more pressure from Virginia, coughing up the ball a couple of times late, endangering his team. Bolin would still manage to complete only 10 of 21 passing attempts for 139 yards and a touchdown.

Clinging to a win, sparing Bobby Petrino much second guessing. But there was one memorable series involving Bolin’s quarterback competition.

Backup quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Reggie Bonnafon were both on the field during one series of downs in the second quarter. Jackson would rush 45 yards on his one snap, setting up a 20-yard touchdown pass from Bonnafon to Jaylen Smith.

What Bolin does that they haven’t done, however, is to get his running backs going. Brandon Radcliff rushing for 146 yards and two touchdowns while averaging over seven yards per carry. UofL’s offense would gain 266 yards on the ground, the second best rushing output this season.

Visions of last-second field goals were unavoidable with 8:30 to go in the fourth quarter with score tied at 24-24. That was before James Quick forced Virginia’s Olamide Zaccheaus to fumble on a punt return. A UofL recovery leading to a one-yard touchdown by UofL’s L. J. Scott two plays later.

Louisville emerging with a seven-point win, providing some welcome relief from all those last second field goals.

Here’s the view of L.J. Scott’s touchdown from Row Z in Section 234:

Louisville baseball sets sights on Virginia

Time to start seriously following the University of Louisville baseball team again with the wintry weather and basketball fading from view.  The Cardinals will be taking on Virginia in a three-game series Saturday through Monday at Charlottesville.

Dan McDonnell winning again.
Dan McDonnell winning again.

The series matches two of nation’s top 10 teams, an opportunity for one team to move up, to improve positioning to host post-season regionals.  Virginia, remember, advanced to the College World Series Finals last season, falling 3-2 to Vanderbilt in the deciding game of the best-of-three series.

UofL  is ranked as high as seventh in five of the six national polls with an overall record of 22-7 and a league-leading 11-1 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Cavaliers are ranked ninth in at least two polls, with a 19-9 record and are 6-6 in the ACC.

The first pitch for Saturday’s game is at 4 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m., and Monday at 7 p.m. All games will be broadcast on 93.9 FM. Monday night’s game will be televised by ESPNU.

— Through 29 games this season, the Louisville bullpen has a 1.67 ERA with a 12-0 record, 134 strikeouts in 113.0 innings pitched and opposing batters are hitting just .166.

— Senior Sutton Whiting leads the Cardinals with a .382 average through 29 games and is hitting .438 in ACC games.

— Sophomore Corey Ray is the power hitter, with four home runs, 27 RBI, 21 runs scored, three triples and 13 stolen bases on 16 attempts.

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Louisville will welcome Kentucky back to Jim Patterson Field on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Same place where the Cardinals ushered the Wildcats out of the NCAA tournament last season.