Rick Pitino’s team responded tonight exactly like the number one team is supposed to. Despite being down double digits in the first half, Louisville stuck with their game plan and withheld an early run from UConn, cruising to a 73-58 win.
The Cards had a rough start offensively and UConn couldn’t seem to miss in the first half. Peyton Siva picking up two quick fouls in the first few minutes of the game didn’t seem to help either.
Russ Smith simply being Russ Smith kept Louisville in the game early on. When Peyton Siva returned in the second half and UConn cooled off, Louisville had no trouble pulling away.
Russ led the way for the Cards finishing with 23, shooting 10-of-20 from the floor.
The missed dunks were frustrating, but Chane Behanan had arguably one of his best performances of the season. Behana finished with 16 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Behanan couldn’t be stopped. When the game is being played at a slow pace, I’d like to see the offense be ran through Behanan.
Peyton Siva limited himself to just 22 minutes of action after getting in early foul trouble, but when he wasn’t on the bench, he was very impressive. In those 22 minutes, Siva scored 11 points, dished out four assists and collected three steals.
Gorgui Dieng’s double-double streak was broken tonight, but he did grab a game high 16 rebounds. Dieng’s mobility on defense looked a step slow tonight, but overall he played a solid game. The pace didn’t favor Gorgui much tonight, in my opinion.
Louisville has greatly benefited on the backboard since Dieng’s return. He’s averaging 14.2 rebounds in Big East play.
Being ranked No. 1 in the country in the month of January means nothing, but Louisville certainly looked like the best team in the country in the second half tonight.