Turnovers for UH lead to Louisville victory
Every time UH tried to make a run, Louisville had an immediate response. The game always seemed within reach and never got out of hand, but the Cardinals showed why their defense and ball movement is top in the nation.
UH gave the national defending champs a run for their money, but Louisville was able to pull away 77-62.
In the last minute of the first half, Louisville let up on its full court press, but the Cougars couldn’t execute. At the half, Louisville senior guard Russ Smith led all scorers with 11, and the Cardinals had a 45-26 lead.
Second half started similar to the first with both teams going blow for blow, but then Louisville started to pressure the ball with their full-court trap.
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino’s emphasis on defense was certainly felt by the Cougars, who got to see first hand why the Cardinals ranked No. 5 in the naetion in steals at 9.5 per game. They had 11 steals and 24 points off turnovers.
Sophomore guard Jherrod Stiggers had an and-one dunk that sparked the Cougars with 10:53 left in the game and then came down and hit a 3-pointer.
Louisville was led by Smith who finished with 17 points and six assists. Louisville had four players to score in double-figures, and the absence of Louisville junior guard Wayne Blackshear didn’t seem like a problem. Blackshear scored 23 in the team’s last game against the Cougars.
Stiggers and junior forward TaShawn Thomas had 14 points apiece.
Thomas has been leading the Cougars with 15.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game. He ranks among the nation’s top leaders in field goal percentage and blocks per game.
This win moves No. 14 Louisville to a 19-4 overall record and 8-2 in conference play.
The Cougars drop to 11-12 overall and 3-7 during conference play. UH is now on a five game losing streak and is hoping to fight its way out of this slump.
Next up the Cougars will play host to Temple at 1 p.m. Sunday for the first time this season.