The Cards look as impressive in the second game of the Billy Minardi Classic as they could, rolling to a 81-54 victory over South Alabama. A Jaguars team that was coming off a tournament appearance last season.
"The first I'd like to say is that, for you people that are from here, you may be looking at the national champions. Coach Pitino has assembled a group of guys that can go at least 10 or 11 deep and not miss a beat. I was reading his book last week and he said you've got to be positive, and with a team like that, it's easy to be positive." Jaguars Coach Ronnie Arrow had to say after facing the Cards.
The Cards were as crisp as I've seen them this season, showing great ball movement on the offensive end, while smothering the Jags with full court pressure from the guards of Louisville and in the half court.
"That was excellent defense two nights in a row. I was really pleased with the 40 minutes and the way we defended." Pitino stated after the game.
South Alabama spent the entire game struggling just to find a decent shot, mostly settling for bad look or Dominic Tilford toss up from anywhere. South Alabama turned the ball over 24 time with only five assists, while the Cards on the other hand produced twenty-four assists with only nine turnovers.
"It's outstanding because you want the defense with our schedule to be right where it's at, at this point of the season. We know we're going to get better with our freshman. We still obviously have to rebound better but that will come, we have to continue to work on it." Pitino said afterwards regarding the Cards position in the early season.
Louisville used an eleven man rotation , where every player played more then ten minutes each and no matter who was in there it seemed that the Cards never missed a beat. Holding the Jags to only five assists, while Louisville was making passes and running their offense so smooth, the Globe Trotters would have been proud.
Freshman Samardo Samuels was again a beast in the middle., scoring 24 points (9 of 10 from the field) and doing a great job of recognizing double teams coming, while finding the open man in the corner. He (Samuels) controlled the painted area every minute he was in the game, commanding the ball and running the floor.
"I think he's one of the best freshmen I've ever coached." Pitino said
As pointed out by Coach Pitino though, that Samuels has trouble rebounding did continue. Samuels had just four rebounds in the game and still has tendency's to not box out properly but he showed a mass improvement on the defensive end as well as showing a softer touch around the basket, including hitting a baby hook shot at one point.
"He doesn't rebound, he doesn't play great defense. You must rebound play, better defense, and block shots if you want get to where you want to go some day. He's very talented but he must learn how to rebound, block shots, and play better defense. That's what we're here for and I'm not going to let up on that." Pitino added about Samuels.
"He's a man. He's got my vote to go hardship." said South Alabama Coach Ronnie Arrow after the game about Samuels.
Terrence Williams is only his second game of the season, looks as impressive as ever. Putting up 12 points with 7 rebounds and 7 assists but the things he brings to this team are not just numbers, they don't keep stats for the leadership Williams gives the Cards.
"I'm watching the total game and he's one of 11 out there. He's an outstanding player, but I would have enjoyed watching them play another team, just not my team. They bring to the table what a coach likes - full intensity with depth. Terrence just keeps coming at you and coming at you." Coach Arrow commented on Williams performance.
"There is a Youngman who just does it all just really understands the game; three steals, seven assists, seven rebounds, and makes people better. He is a very talented basketball player, very deserving of that MVP." Added Pitino on Williams impact.
The Cards will now have a few days off before heading south to play another Sun Belt team in Western Kentucky on November 30th.