By Charlie Springer

The latest experience begins with the observer forking over a pile of cash for two prime seats, anticipating that this would be one of those kind of games. An investment that would be rewarded tenfold with a magnificent view: a defensive masterpiece that would rival any seen in dozens, maybe hundreds of games at Freedom Hall over the years.

— You’ve seen them, we’ve all seen, games where someone emerges as a star, someone who has to be reckoned with. It happened for Louisville in this game. The eruption of Terrence Jennings as a defensive behemoth. Luke Harangody unable to miss a shot for much of the game, tip-ins, hooks, jumpers, three-pointers, it didn’t matter where, anywhere and everywhere. Until Terrence Jennings emerged. Thwarted. Not once, not twice, but three times. That wasn’t in the game films, huh Luke?

— Kyle McAlarney will be seeing the nostrils and sniffing the arm pits of Jerry Smith, Preston Knowles and mclarneyAndre McGee in his nightmares until the teams meet again on Feb. 12 at South Bend. A player who could probably make a good living as a Notre Dame leprechaun look-alike has an incredible, almost robotic precision as a shooter.  When denied three-pointers, he attacks the basket with equal ability. That is until Smith, Knowles and McGee deny him any semblance of daylight.

Earl Clark. Forty-three minutes of emotion and all-out effort. He’s playing for the name on the front of the jersey now, the rest will follow. He keeps surprising fans with startling new moves previously unimaginable for No. 5.

— Terrence Williams had the look before the tipoff. A special night, a special game. He knew it would take a special effort, one of the kind of efforts you look back at after your career is done. He has impressed many times at Louisville but never more often in one game. How fitting it would have been if his final shot in regulation had counted. Replays indicate that it should have but what the heck. Do an encore in overtime.

— Samardo Samuels is quickly gaining on the learning curve, taking Harangody to the basket time and time again, knowing that half the fouls would never be called. Collecting 18 points himself, most of them requiring body-jarring effort.

Yeah, just had to have that mind-bogging, twisting prayer from Edgar Sosa bouncing off the glass straight into net abyss. Had to be good, just had to be good in this game.

The Speech.  You know, the pre-game motivational ones, the Rick Pitino specials, each of them unique, fiery, making you want to charge the bayonets. Pitino, the masterful motivator.


Other views of the game: Frank at Hell In The Hall and Mike at Card Chronicle.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

9 thoughts on “Another Freedom Hall Classic”
  1. We were among the crazies last night at the Hall and there hasn’t been that much excitement there since Denny was the coach.
    TWill, TJen, SamSam, McGee, sweet E5….on and on it goes. They took care of business last night and lived up to their preseason #5 ranking…..sure hope we can protect our house again Saturday. Go CARDS!!! I’m still shaking from last night….wow. THIS is Linda #1 ,o)

  2. Luke’s immature displays at the end of the game were about the only downer to a great evening in the Hall. A true warrior, though…who needs a course in anger management. I’m sure the Notre Dame priest in attandance cringed after the f-bomb was shown live on the big screen overhead. That’s gonna cost you a few hail mary’s and some quality time in the confessional booth, Luke.

  3. A classic, indeed. Our guys were not going to be denied. Notre Dame has two of the best shooters I’ve ever seen. They’ve got to consider other alternatives now. Wow, what a battle.

  4. Big Luke needs to be able to control his emotions if he really wants to be considered cool. Using the F-bomb and giving one finger salutes reveals more about his character than any and all of the shots he makes.

  5. Charlie,

    Eight days. Three last minute thrillers, against your arch rival and two top 20 teams. Three wild wins, and a four game winning streak..

    And now, this Saturday: #1 Pitt in the Hall.

    I can assure you I have never known any better two week stretch of Card basketball in the regular season in my 40 years of watching U of L…


  6. T-Will was awesome. He makes things happen. I wish his dunk at the end of regulation would’ve counted (although it looked liked he took a few extra steps). But it might be better in the long run for the Cards to go to OT — and they blew them out!

    I didn’t like seeing Harangody scoring at will most of the game…but I LOVED seeing him shut down in the final minutes! Jennings filled in nicely and made his presences known!

    Get ready for Pitt and let’s have another WIN!!

  7. Earl’s dunk was just nasty…no other way to describe it. The Hall was electric this evening, don’t know how it translated over to television..but the crowd got into the game as good as I’ve seen this year. The lockdown guard play of McGee and Knowles, plus Terrance Jennings with the “d” on Luke…it was awesome.

    Give the biggest credit to T-Will, though. Almost a triple double, and that dunk at the end of regulation….even though it didn’t count…Sally, call in the cows cause the wolf is on the loose!

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