Louisville earns plaudit after Big East win
By Steve Jones, USA TODAY Sports
LOUISVILLE – The University of Louisville basketball team’s offense keeps running in high gear, and Providence became the latest victim in an 80-62 loss to the fourth-ranked Cardinals on Wednesday night in the Big East Conference opener for both teams.
But points aren’t the point of emphasis for Louisville coach Rick Pitino. He wants stops to go with scoring.
“We’re continuing to win with offense,” he said, praising the team’s ball-handling and shooting. “(But) our defense is nowhere near where we want it to be. I think our guys realize that, and they will continue to work on it. We got a good … Big East victory, and once our defense catches up to our offense, we have a chance to be a really special team.”
Louisville got in a 3-point groove in the second half to put away Providence before 21,305 fans in the KFC Yum! Center — a nice crowd for a 6 p.m. game that was competing with the Sugar Bowl for pro-Louisville bodies.
The Cards (13-1) made five of their first six 3-point attempts in the second half, including three during a decisive 14-0 run. They made 7 of 18 threes in all.
“It’s good when we can knock down shots, but we’re really worried about defense,” said reserve guard Luke Hancock, who had 11 points, including two threes. “That’s what is going to make our team … go. As long as we play good defense eventually, we’ll be fine.”
Providence coach Ed Cooley thinks the Cards are fine already.
“I think without a doubt that Louisville is the best team in the country,” he said. “… They have a lot of different weapons. They play at a great pace. They use their depth. It seems like their players knows their roles. They were fun to watch even to scout.
The Cards were 15 of 24 (62.5%) from the floor in the second half and had 22 assists for the game, one fewer than their season high against Florida International and 11 more than the Friars (8-5). U of L had only eight turnovers and is 9-0 when it … [For more on No. 4 Louisville earns plaudit after Big East win, click here.]