Peyton Siva had career highs in assists and three-pointers Wednesday.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Peyton Siva made five three-point
shots against Florida International Wednesday night. That was a month's worth
of three-pointers for Siva last season. Siva distributed 12 assists. That's
also Siva's best career total in the 115 games he has played for the University
Siva did other things that reminded the world why he was voted
the Big East Conference pre-season Player of the Year. U of L defeated FIU,
79-55, Wednesday night in the KFC Yum! Center as Siva scored 15 points. The
Billy Minardi Most Outstanding Player award was tucked in Siva's locker.
"He's been putting in the work, so for him to come out here
and knock it down, I'm not really too surprised," U of L guard Russ Smith said.
"That's Siva for you."
This is also Siva for you: Guess which player was on the
listening end of full-court Rick Pitino verbal pressure because of a pair of
"Coach P gave me the trophy, but I don't think he really
wanted to because of those five turnovers," Siva said, with a laugh. "I'm just
glad I didn't have a career high in turnovers today."
When a team's senior star can take full-force correction
with a smile, what reason do sophomores and freshmen have to grouse? File that
under Leadership. Siva does not pout. He listens, the same way Tim Duncan
listens to Gregg Popovich or Tom Brady processes what Bill Belichick says.
Wayne Blackshear tied a career-high with 18 points against
FIU. Blackshear attracted the largest crowd of microphones in the U of L locker
room after the game. Russ Smith is featured in a major spread in the latest
issue of Sports Illustrated, including an iPad edition of the story that
features a two-minute video of Smith eating waffles at breakfast gatherings
that he has nicknamed his "Tea Parties."
Montrezl Harrell continued to play like an emerging force
off the bench. Stephan Van Treese ignored two sore knees to play 15 solid
Warning: Do not forget what the University of Louisville has
in Siva – a poised and dependable senior guard who seen it all during three
trips through the Big East Conference.
The FIU, Missouri-Kansas City and Samford portion of the U
of L schedule is coming to a close. Kentucky and the Big East grind is about to
arrive. Getting through those games successfully will require the best of
Peyton Siva. And Siva appears to be playing the best basketball of his career.
He remains the player who can tell all of his teammates to
concentrate on what Pitino says when he is correcting them instead of dwelling
on the way he says it. Then he lives that approach. That will be essential on
nights when other players are asked to fix their mistakes.
Siva never shows a minute of entitlement. Even though Big
East coaches consider him the best player in the league, Siva works like a guy
surrounded by doubters. For more than a season, Siva's shot has given skeptics
something to doubt.
Know this: That shot is getting better – smoother, more
Think about this: Siva has already made 16 three-point shots
in 11 games this season – after making only 17 in 38 games last season. He's
cranked his three-point shooting percentage up to 38.1 from 24.6. FIU did not guard him on the perimeter – by
design. The Panthers tried to eliminate his trademark pick and roll because FIU
coach Richard Pitino knew how well Siva worked that play. No drives. All
"They played me for the three so I just took the shot," Siva
said. "It felt good. I just tried to take what the defense gave me. They really
didn't give me the lane.
"I was just glad to give Richard my career high in threes
because the whole week he's been telling me (by text messages) that I can't
"He's been so smart this year," said Richard Pitino, who
recruited Siva to U of L when he worked for the Cardinals. "Whereas in the past
he used to make a lot of silly mistakes. You look at him (Wednesday), he hardly
took any bad shots.
"We were really trying to shut down penetration, and he
didn't force it … He's a smart, smart player."
Peyton Siva is more than that. He's a guy who is playing –
and living – the part of a big, big leader on this U of L team.