CRAWFORD | Jones, Rozier combine for 51 points to lead Louisville past Boston College
It wasn't always pretty, but after flying in the day of the game, the University of Louisville got splendid play from its backcourt to pull away from Boston College late.
Thursday, January 29th 2015, 12:18 am EST by
Thursday, January 29th 2015, 12:25 am EST
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — This was a two-man game. When the University of Louisville at times looked as ragged as it has in any game in Atlantic Coast Conference play, Terry Rozier and Chris Jones carried the No. 10-ranked Cardinals to an 81-72 win at Boston College.
The Cards had an excuse. They took a charter flight to blizzard-battered Boston at lunchtime on Wednesday. Still, they threatened several times to pull away before a small crowd in Chestnut Hill.
But Boston College responded with timely three-point shooting to stay close. U of L three times pulled out to nine- or 10-point leads before finally putting BC away in the final minute.
“I told you this team took Virginia to the wire, were up 10 against Pitt and lost in overtime, they blew out Providence, this team because they can shoot it at all five positions and run a lot of motion, they're a nightmare,” Pitino told Paul Rogers on his Learfield Sports postgame show. “Now I will say this. A team (Louisville) that was one of the best defensive teams in the country is suddenly becoming average defensively and one of the better offensive teams in the country. So I like that better, because we'll get them to play better defense. We can't get them to play this type of offense too often.”
The Cardinals backed up their 65 percent shooting at Pittsburgh with 58 percent shooting Wednesday night. Jones made 10 of 13 shots and scored a career-high 28. Rozier was 9-15 and finished with 23. Rozier led the team with five assists. Jones led the Cards with six rebounds.
During a 12-minute stretch of the second half, the pair scored every field goal for the Cardinals, who improved to 17-3 overall, 5-2 in the ACC. How much did the duo carry the Cards in the second half? They each scored 17 points in the half, combining for 34 of the Cards' 46 points in the half, and they shot a combined 11-13 from the field, and 4-4 from three-point range.
“Terry gets a lot of credit, rightfully so. He's having as good a year as any guard in the country,” Pitino told Rogers. “But I'm going to tell you, in conference play, there's not a better player than Chris Jones in America. He's making every play, gives you clutch rebounds. Because Chris is not the happy-go-lucky kid that Terry is, people, I won't say underrate him, but they don't give him enough credit. But we as coaches think the world of his play, because he's big-time.”
The Cards gave up 42.6 percent shooting and allowed the Eagles to hit nine three-pointers, but their defense tightened up a bit during the second half. They struggled to turn Boston College over, forcing only seven in the game. They scored just eight points off turnovers and had just two fast-break points in the game, which meant that the guards had to come up big.
Montrezl Harrell got into foul trouble with six minutes to play in the first half, then picked up his third foul early in the second half. He finished with 12 points and five rebounds. The Cards also got 10 points from Wayne Blackshear, who was only 1-7 from the field but went 7-7 from the line.
While Jones and Rozier are rolling, Pitino used Quentin Snider Wednesday night and said he'll use him more as the season goes on. He praised the Louisville Ballard product on his postgame show.
“Quentin Snider, I have no concern about putting him in the game now,” Pitino said. “He has been one of the top three players in practice every day for the past two weeks. Now you may say, why didn't you play him more minutes? We just, it was a very confusing game for our match-up zone. And Q, it's just a difficult game for him. We needed Chris and Terry in this game. I had no qualms about using him, I move Chris to the two. So we've got Mangok (Mathiang) and Q ready right now (off the bench), and Shaqquan Aaron is half ready. He gets beat a lot, but those are going to be our eight guys. I'm not afraid to put Shaqquan in. Those are going to be our eight players.”
Next up for the Cards is a rematch with North Carolina. They'll tip off at 4 p.m. Saturday in the KFC Yum! Center.
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