Wanted It Bad, Louisville 94, Providence 76

Pure desire keeps you in the game when an opposing team hits 75 percent of its shots. That and some grinding practices in rag-tags after one of the worst losses in Rick Pitino’s career. Providence might have claimed the distinction had Notre Dame not already administered the shocker a mere six days ago.

Combining adrenalin and talent, Providence was primed to knock off the seventh-ranked team. Memories of a team coached by a young Rick Pitino. Visions of the Providence legend going down to defeat.

Louisville wanted this game more than Providence, had to have it to continue Pitino’s promise of a return to prominence for U of L basketball. Lose this one, and all the hard-earned wins, the 10-game winning streak, the return to the top 10, are for naught. New beginnings are for losers.

— How does Terrence Williams, unable to even take a shot three days ago, display one of the best shooting forms of his four years at Louisville? Sinking seven of 11 shots, each one more critical than the last. EIGHT assists. Six rebounds.

— The specter of a possible Notre Dame Part Two was erased when Preston Knowles broke a four-minute scoring drought at the 14:33 mark to pull U of L to within a point 53-52. Knowles smothering Randall Curry, making Curry doubt himself, holding Curry to six points in the second half.

— Got to quit cringing every time Earl Clark gets the ball on the offensive end. Have to remember he has games like this one, even though Clark may turn the ball over three times, he will also get 10 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and a block.

— Quick recalls of this game will not include Edgar Sosa because of the defensive efforts of Andre McGee and Preston Knowles. Yet the box score will always show that Sosa hit five of eight fields, seven of eight free throws and led all scorers with 18 points.

No one said it was going to be easy.

Other takes on the game at Hell In The Hall and Card Chronicle.

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Charlie Springer

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

6 thoughts on “Wanted It Bad, Louisville 94, Providence 76

  • February 18, 2009 at 11:14 pm
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    Man, I had almost forgotten how hard we had to work to win back in the eighties. This game really took me to those years. You have to come prepared for everything they throw at you … and then give it right back to them. I think Denny Crum may have forgotten that along the way. Not criticizing Denny but I think he embraced the notion of being a great coach and forgetting how hungry he needed to be.

  • February 19, 2009 at 7:00 am
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    To borrow from an old football adage:

    Offense fills the seats, defense wins games.

    It proved true last night in Freedom Hall for the basketball Cards. The 13-0 that put us up by ten was fueled by our defensive intensity and transition scoring. Two straight turnovers by Providence delivers two Cards baskets. Jennings with the block that may have been a goaltend, but leads to another basket. A Williams assist. A Williams three. A Providence technical and all of a sudden we’re up by ten. And, the fight was settled. Providence players beginning to feel the “dead legs” on their jumpers and rebouding efforts.

    Defense wins games. We had a great display of it in the second half last night. We’ll need it the rest of the way. Glad to see you back and shining, Mr. Williams.

  • February 19, 2009 at 9:01 am
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    Does anyone else feel like I do? Everytime Preston shoots I just know its probably going in. He is becoming an automatic shooter. What a good find. Props Coach Pitino and staff.

  • February 19, 2009 at 9:07 am
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    Charlie,

    You and the Card Game readrs may want ot ck out game photos from Matt (KyLures)and Sam4Gtr (U of L student newspaper)that are now up:

    http://hellinthehall.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/u-of-l-94-providence-76/

    How did the Cards cool off a team that had just torched them for the highest pt total and shooting % in a half this season?

    Pitino: “The defense (in the second half) started with our offense…”

    Frank

    Hell in the Hall

  • February 19, 2009 at 9:49 am
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    Edgar Sosa has changed. We used to have Good Edgar and Bad Edgar. Now it seems (pray there is no relapse) we have Good Edgar and OK Edgar. His decision making and emotional stability has greatly improved in the last month. And he seems to be giving it more effort on D. Again, let us pray to the Great Basketball God that this is not a tease, a fleeting glimpse but a real progression.

  • February 19, 2009 at 2:31 pm
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    A whirlwind of a game. Yep, the Cards wanted this one more than Providence. That was the difference.

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