Russ and Chris Smith make house call

A team meeting, a home court and DePaul, just what the doctor ordered.

Along with an extra-strength dose of the Smith brothers for a stuffed-up offense that was coughing up phlegm just a few days ago, wheezing and whining, a team many had declared was on life support.

Chris Smith, the player who called the meeting, and Russ Smith, who no doubt wanted someone to talk with besides Rick Pitino, would provide the ingredient the Louisville offense had been missing, players looking for the basket, creating opportunities for themselves and their teammates to score.

Russ Smith would score 25 points while handing out six assists, playing like his old self on offense, so what if he did take 22 shots? The kid brings excitement with every shot.

Rick Pitino taking note of Russ’s resilience on defense, including four steals, granting him a whopping 34 minutes of playing time. Sure to erase the pain of those 32 minutes on the end of the bench at Providence.

Chris Smith providing a much-needed three-point punch, hitting four out of five attempts. Making a key stop on defense when DePaul was within a basket of cutting the deficit to five. Having spoken up at the meeting, we doubt he’s going to be doing any disappearing acts, at least not while riding the positive vibes from that crucial confab.

Gorgui Dieng, who was probably puzzled by what happened at Providence, was back at full strength, responding in kind to his re-energized teammates. That total of 14 rebounds is a thing of beauty, as was the fact that U of L finally out-rebounded another team (by eight rebounds).

Peyton Siva appeared to be a little quicker, stronger, and more surefooted in this game, rarely showing the effects of the ankle sprain. Fast enough to make six steals,  but sadly equaled by six turnovers … and more inadequate shooting.

If Siva ever hits that next three-point attempt, many more good ones will follow, and few fans will be surprised. No prescription for that, just time and he’s gaining on it. Going to need Siva at his best when these teams meet again in Chicago in four weeks.

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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.

4 thoughts on “Russ and Chris Smith make house call

  • January 14, 2012 at 8:25 pm
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    Not pretty but the fight was back. We could have let up or quit a few times today but that was not in the Cards. Too much pride and tradition to let that happen. If we ever get back to full strength, whatever, that is, we could create some havoc.

  • January 14, 2012 at 10:49 pm
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    Charlie–

    As always , we make pics of the game available to you and your readers. You and your readers may want to check out the DePaul photos–as well as some interview tidbits I gathered from some players on that post-Providence loss team mtg…

    http://hellinthehall.com/2012/01/14/louisville-76-depaul-59/

    Frank

  • January 14, 2012 at 10:50 pm
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    I was very happy with the way everyone bounced back today. The bile from the Providence debacle needed to be flushed away from my gut. This was a good tonic!

    But part of me still says, it better not happen again this season. That lack of effort and, seemingly, lack of concern by so many players was very disturbing!

    I know, John L., tear off that rear view mirror and fight the next fight……but still!

  • January 15, 2012 at 2:55 pm
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    Nice win Cards! And great leadership by Russ and Chris smith on the player only meeting. still disappointed in siva. 40 mInutes of playing time with very little productivity. Ware needs more PT.

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