UofL players Tre White and Skyy Clark confer during a break in the action (Mike DeZarn photo).

They’re hard to watch, really they are, even if they are making progress. It’s incremental, for sure, one would be hard pressed to give specific examples. The won-lost record is probably the best indicator, the University of Louisville basketball team is 4-3, having already tied last season’s win total.

Another indicator might be that this UofL basketball got back on the winning side against Bellarmine. One has to understand first that nobody ever expected the Cardinals to lose to the crosstown Knights, certainly during their lifetimes. But they did last season, confirming that the season would be one of the worst in the program’s history. Things may be getting better, not in any hurry, with UofL outlasting BU 73-68 on Wednesday.

True to form, the Cardinals trailed 27-22 at halftime, but shot 55% in the second half and made 16 of 22 free throws after the break. They actually scored 51 points in that 20-minute span. The victory avenged last year’s one-point, season-opening harbinger of things to come.

“We have a new team this year as everyone knows, and we just wanted to remember last year and how it went,” junior forward Brandon Huntley-Hatfield said. “Louisville vs. Bellarmine – we all knew what was at stake. They’re a very good team. A very, very disciplined team. So, we just wanted to have the right focus, one through 15. We just wanted to come out here and be different than last year, and I feel like we did that.”

Bellarmine (2-6) led 33-29 with 15:59 to play in the game when Louisville went on a 19-3 run over the next five minutes.
The spurt began and ended with 3-pointers by sophomore guard Skyy Clark who led all scorers with 21 points.

“It was just that (Bellarmine) was a very, very different basketball team on offense and defense,” Clark said. “They help in the gaps a lot and they switched one through five, so it was just something that we haven’t seen before. We just needed to go through it in the first half and then in the second half, we knew what we needed to do.’

Will Coach Kenny Payne’s team win more than four games this season? Nobody knows for sure but it may be a while. The Atlantic Coast Conference schedule begins Sunday against a daunting Virginia Tech team.

Brandon Huntley-Hatfield still looking for some leadership qualities (Mike DeZarn photo).
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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.

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