BOZICH | Five quick thoughts on Louisville's comeback win over Pittsburgh
Rick Pitino's University of Louisville basketball team received contributions from several unlikely sources as the Cards rallied to beat Pittsburgh Wednesday night.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Five quick thoughts from the end of the suddenly rousing bench on Louisville's rally from a six-point second-half hole to defeat Pittsburgh, 69-56, Wednesday night at the KFC Yum! Center.
*HELP (FINALLY) ARRIVES – If you had Chinanu Onuaku in the pool for which Louisville player outside the Big Four would make a field goal for the first time in three games, you were a winner.
Starting at center, Onuaku scored at the 18:04 mark to tie the game at 4. It was the first field goal in 102 minutes and 21 seconds that a Louisville player other than Montrezl Harrell, Chris Jones, Terry Rozier or Wayne Blackshear scored for Rick Pitino's team.
A good sign? Stay tuned. It helps explain how Louisville roared back to win after trailing, 45-39, with about 12 minutes to play.
The good times were just beginning the non-Big Four portion of Cardinals' roster. The Welcome Back party continued in the second half.
Anton Gill scored two points against Duke on Jan. 17.
He did not score at Pittsburgh. He did not play at Boston College. He did not score in Louisville's next three games.
Freshman guard Quentin Snider added a floater from the right baseline later in the half. Snider played the final 12 minutes in place of Jones and scored four points. It was the first time since Duke that Snider, Gill and Onuaku scored in the same game.
Without Wayne Blackshear available, Rick Pitino needed Gill against the Panthers. And he finally ended his scoreless streak with mid-way through the second half, running out for a pass from Onuaku that Gill converted into a dunk.
Anas Mahmoud earned a thunderous ovation with a shot-block at the rim – and then contributed a tip-in in the final 2 ½ minutes.
After receiving zero points from the bench against Miami and Virginia, the Cards had eight points off the bench against the Panthers, plus four from Onuaku.
*MIGHTY MONTREZL – Harrell's power game remains the skill that separates him from most players in the game, but he showed his improved mid-range game against the Panthers. He made three field goals in the first half from at least 10 feet away from the rim, scoring seven of Louisville's first 12 baskets.
Louisville needed Harrell to be relentless – and he was. Harrell played all 40 minutes, leading the Cardinals with 28 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots.
*SIVA SHOW – With a pause in the NBA Developmental League schedule, Peyton Siva sat courtside across from the Louisville bench with his wife, Patience. He earned a standing ovation when he was introduced with less than eight minutes to play.
Siva is averaging 11.2 points, 6.9 assists and 3.7 rebounds for the Erie (Pa.) Bayhawks. He ranks sixth in the league in assists, just ahead of former Ohio State star Aaron Craft. This is Siva's second season in the D-League after leading U of L to the 2013 NCAA title.
*BLACKSHEAR AILING – Wayne Blackshear watched all but one minute and 17 seconds of the game from the bench because of a sore hip.
After warming up and trying to play, Blackshear motioned to the sidelines quickly and was removed with 18:43 remaining in the first half.
He pulled on his warm-up shirt and held a wrap against the right hip, which he injured in practice earlier Tuesday. It was the first game this season Blackshear failed to score.
UP NEXT – Louisville returns to the KFC Yum! Center to play North Carolina State. It's the Cardinals' only regular-season game against Mark Gottfried's team this season. North Carolina State dropped to 5-7 in the ACC after losing to Virginia, 51-47, Wednesday night in Raleigh.
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