CRAWFORD | Six takeaways from Louisville's 84-65 win over Florid - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Six takeaways from Louisville's 84-65 win over Florida State

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WDRB photo by Eric Crawford. WDRB photo by Eric Crawford.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Upsets are abounding in college basketball. They are proliferating. Four of the nation’s top six teams have lost this week.

Two ranked teams — West Virginia and Michigan State — lost to unranked opponents Wednesday night.

If ranked teams losing to unranked opponents is a trend, the University of Louisville basketball team declined to participate.

The Cardinals backed up their best defensive performance of the year last week against Pittsburgh with another just as dominant in an 84-65 win over Florida State. The win boosted Louisville to 15-3 overall, 4-1 and all alone in second place in the ACC.

Don’t be deceived. The defense was more dominant than the stats suggest. The final count includes a 10-0 run and 4-for-4 shooting by Florida State in the final 1:10. Louisville led by 29 (76-47) with 4:30 left in the game, when Pitino started pulling his starters.

Before that, Florida State was shooting just 36 percent (18-50).

“These are the kinds of games as coaches you hope you don’t have but one a year,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “Louisville played awful well. They created a lot of indecision on our kids’ part. They were very well-prepared. . . . Louisville is so adept and skilled at getting in position, big and strong and athletic, that we had a difficult time keeping them off the boards. . . . I don’t think we matched their competitive toughness.”

As you might expect, Pitino was highly pleased with his team’s defense.

“Except for the last two minutes, it was a great performance,” he said. “Just overall better on offense and defense. We had something like 50 paint touches offensively, I think it was 57, and that is a record for us. So we did a lot of good things tonight. Florida State was a very dangerous ballclub. They have a lot of offensive weapons, a lot of size, but our guys rose to the occasion.”

Five takeaways:

1. QUENTIN SNIDER WAS ‘BRILLIANT.’ Pitino’s word, not mine. And he doesn’t pass it out too often to point guards. Snider led the Cardinals with 20 points, went 8-12 from the field and 3-4 from three-point range. But more than that, he steadied the offense when he was on the court, applied good ball pressure in the full-court press and had what probably was his best all-around game of the season. He not only was making threes, but scored on a variety of floaters, runners and drives to the rim.

“He knew the clock and did a lot of great things and I was really, really happy with him,” Pitino said.

Snider came into the game clean shaven with a new haircut. He didn’t credit that for his play.

“Watching film on them, they had great guards,” Snider said. “I was just trying to go after them guards and try to stay aggressive coming out of the gate. I think I hit that first three-point shot, and I started to feel more confident.”

More quietly, Trey Lewis was very efficient at point. He made the only three shots he took, dished out five assists, grabbed three rebounds and played dogged defense in 21 minutes off the bench.

2. ONUAKU AGAIN COMES UP BIG ON THE BOARDS. Chinanu Onuaku posted his fifth straight double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds, just one shy of his career high on the boards. He’s averaging 11.2 rebounds over his past nine games, and is shooting 64.7 percent over his past seven games.

3. LEE STAYS ACTIVE. It wasn’t a great shooting night for Damion Lee, but he continues to improve in other phases of the game. He had three assists and three steals Wednesday, and did get a couple of three-pointers to go while finishing with 14 points and 5 rebounds.

4. THAT DONOVAN MITCHELL PUTBACK DUNK, THOUGH. That play got a column of its own. You can read it here.

5. SOME PERSPECTIVE ON THE DEFENSE. Florida State came into the game playing the second-fastest tempo in the ACC, with its games averaging 74 possessions per game. The Seminoles got exactly that against the Cardinals, but were nowhere near their scoring average of 80.2 points per game. Once again, Louisville put the brakes on a hot offense. Florida State was playing without guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes, benched by Hamilton for a reason he wouldn’t specify.

“Prior to the last two minutes, we played great defense,” Pitino said. “We had them in the 30 percentile and then we gave up layup upon layup. I liked everything except a few non-blockouts where Ray (Spalding) ducked out of the way instead of clearing out and getting the rebound. Overall it was a great performance by our team.

6. A RANKING NOTE. In January, it doesn’t mean a whole lot. But I’ll note it here. The victory boosted Louisville to No. 3 nationally in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings. He ranks Louisville the most defensively efficient team in the nation, just a tick above West Virginia.

Pitino hadn’t put much stock in his team’s defensive numbers before conference play began. Many more performances like their last two, and his Cardinals may make a believer of him.

Final stats below (click to enlarge)

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