That’s the kind of pace — frantic, chaotic, frenzied — that built University of Louisville basketball over the years, unpredictable, unstoppable, not be denied. Brings out 22,000 fans on a Wednesday night, anticipating, wanting and expecting a dominant performance.

They would have to wait a while, the outcome in doubt with the Cardinals falling behind by six points at the 12:39 mark. The teams would trade empty trips up and down the court over the next couple of minutes until an unlikely player would ignite the run.

Montrezl Harrell unleashed.
Montrezl Harrell unleashed.

Quentin Snider, who had played only six minutes the past two games, taking charge at the point, ending a 100-plus minute scoring drought from Louisville’s bench, hitting a perfect jumper, the basketball flowing through the net. That was when the lights came on, raising the curtain, time for the magic,

Another Montrezl Harrell dunk would tie the score and, over the next five minutes, probably their best five minutes this season, what they had been waiting for after so many offensive lapses, defensive struggles and grind-it-out games their first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

UofL would outscore the Panthers 22-2 at one point en route to a 69-56 win, with Terry Rozier getting 18 of his 22 points in the second half. They would do it without Wayne Blackshear who left early in the first half and Chris Jones who was pulled with more than 10 minutes to go in the second half.

Should put to rest the talk about UofL not playing well at home.

Rick Pitino right again about having a good bench, Shaqquan Aaron and Snider getting 24 minutes and 15 minutes of playing time, respectively. Quality playing time, confidence-building experience, with the game on the line. Anas Mahmoud would get in late, playing so well Pitino wasn’t about to pull him. The box score indicates he had only block but Pittsburgh players will swear he had at least three of them.

Montrezl Harrell probably playing the game of his career, with 28 points and 12 rebounds, looking every bit the professional he will become in a few short months. No longer a captain, but, like Pitino said at the time, it was no big deal. Unquestionably the heart and soul, the monster, the natural leader of this team.

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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.

2 thoughts on “The fun is back, and Louisville booms Pittsburgh”
  1. Harrell is monster! Blocking shot, controlling the boards, all the slams, and now hitting his jump shots. He is a joy to watch, plus he has learned to control his temper. The world is his oyster right now!

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