CRAWFORD | Louisville falls to Puerto Rico Juniors after big com - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Louisville falls to Puerto Rico Juniors after big comeback

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Louisville freshman Raymond Spalding with a first-half follow slam. (WDRB photo by Eric Crawford) Louisville freshman Raymond Spalding with a first-half follow slam. (WDRB photo by Eric Crawford)

SAN JUAN, P.R. (WDRB) — This one looked like it might be a laughter. And not in a good way for the University of Louisville basketball team that faced the Puerto Rico Junior National Team Tuesday night.

The U of L team, made up of reserve players and a few newcomers, had four turnovers on its first four possessions. It didn’t manage a shot for the game’s first 2 1/2 minutes. The Cards trailed 14-3 early and found themselves behind 37-17 early in the second quarter.

Then a guy you probably haven’t heard of helped key a comeback, before the Cards fell 94-88 in a game played as a preliminary to Tuesday’s full-squad game between U of L and the Puerto Rican National Team.

Jay Henderson, a 6-5 walk-on guard who had planned to walk on at St. John’s until Steve Lavin was let go as head coach, came into the game and hit a pair of three pointers.

Freshman Ryan McMahon also made a pair, and Levitch added one. By halftime, the Cards were down just 47-40.

In the second half, they pulled to within three points when 7-foot sophomore Matz Stockman started making shots. He’d gone 0-for-5 in the first half, most of those on dunks or point-blank looks. But in the third quarter he scored 8 points on 4-4 shooting. The Cards trailed just 69-63 after three quarters. But couldn’t quite pull even.

Henderson and Levitch wound up leading the Cards with 17 points each. Deng Adel had 16, Raymond Spalding 11 and Anas Mahmoud 11.

This wasn’t the main event, but gave a first look at a few players. Some observations.

DENG ADEL: He’s got great athleticism and looks right away to be the kind of player Pitino can turn to for good minutes on defense. He’s going to play.

RAYMOND SPALDING: He should be able to help the Cards this season. He lacks some of the physical bulk needed to hold position, but he’s as active as advertised on defense, gets his hands into passing lanes on defense, and has a good shooting touch on offense.

MATZ STOCKMAN: As mentioned earlier, he struggled a great deal in the first half, but credit Ralph Willard with going right back to him to open the second half. If he settles down, his size could make him useful.

DAVID LEVITCH: Appeared to be overmatched physically to start the game, then adjusted, and was pulling down big rebounds and driving into the lane for important points late.

JAYLEN JOHNSON: He should figure prominently on this team, but looked at times like he might’ve been saving himself for the next game. Was just 1 of 8 from the field in the first three quarters and finished 3 of 13.

See more pictures and video from Louisville's trip to Puerto Rico here.

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