One of those defensive struggles, everyone knowing the outcome in advance, players and fans not getting overly concerned as the underdog stands toe to toe, refusing to roll over.

The University of Louisville defeated Clemson 58-52, emerging on top only because the Cardinals were more intense on defense. That wasn’t the case during the first 20 minutes, with Clemson beating UofL at its own game.

It doesn’t help either that Montrezl Harrell is in the game only five minutes before collecting his second foul, denied any points and deprived on any rebounds. The visiting Tigers holding a 22-18 lead, possibly positioned for an upset.

Pitino doing what he does best, delivering another one of those fiery motivational butt-lifters in the locker room, sparing no one in the process. Expressions and body language resembling shell shock as his players return to the court.

Louisville would go on a torrid 17-0 run, one less point than during the entire first half, to claim a 35-22 lead. The offensive fireworks resulting from a relentless defense, with Chris Jones and Terry Rozier claiming two steals apiece during the spurt to go with a Harrell pick.

The after-effects of Pitino’s half-time tirade would fizzle, however, and Clemson would cut the lead to 42-40. Chinanu Onuaku would emerge briefly on offense with a tip-in, looking like he had been saving it for a few games, and Louisville had essentially survived Clemson’s equally impressive comeback.

Jones and Rozier would lead UofL scoring with 22 and 15 points, respectively.

Charlie Springer

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