I'll start out by stating the obvious - Earl Clark was a man-child/beast/monster/savior last night with his 26 point 16 rebound 5 block 4 assist performance in the 77-68 win against Ole Miss in Cincinnati. Not enough can be said about his production. If E5 doesn't show up, the Cards lose that game - maybe by double figures. Clark scored 17 of the first 24 Louisville points to build the first half lead to 18.
"Earl Clark was spectacular...he had to be Superman for us tonight and he was." said Coach Pitino after the game, "This was his best game as a Louisville basketball player". Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy added, "What a tremendous athlete he is. Long and athletic with the skills of a guard. Everything you could ask of a player."
Earl was doing it in every way imaginable - hitting threes, mid-range jumpers, and banging around down low. Pitino said he gave the effort last night that he did at the end of last year, something I have been harping on all year and mentioned the other day. Coach placed it solely on effort and talked about his NBA days and how scouts would salivate over a 6'10 player with his ball-handling skills.
As good as Clark was, Samardo Samuels was equally as bad. He missed more lay-up then I've seen anyone miss since I can remember. 2-13 for 9 points. Probably his worst game of the young season but he made up for it by grabbing 13 rebounds which masked the horrendous shooting night.
"He needs to learn how to pass out of the post and play above the rim. [Although] I was pleased with his rebounding." Coach Pitino said about Samardo's play.
If a 9 point 13 board game is about as bad as it gets for Mardo, I think the Cards will be fine. I just hope it doesn't discourage the talented Jamaican big man.
- Pitino made an interesting comment about Edgar Sosa. He said "If we are going to be a great basketball team, Edgar Sosa has to be a great point guard". If that is the case, Sosa better shape up. There were way too many times when he got lost on penetration and. Got himself in trouble, but what else is new. He did make a big 3 with around 4 minutes to go to put the game away. He is just a very frustating player who makes me hold my breath every time he gets the ball. Not in a Jordan kind of way and not the Michael Porter kind of way, but somewhere in between the two. Sosa needs to take a step back and realize what a PG's true duties are - lead and distribute not shoot and dribble.
- I was very pleased with the turnout of Card fans in Cincy. Ther were plenty of C-A-R-D-S and DE-fense chants, that I'm sure helped the team through the tough stretches. The arena doubled in attendance after the UC/Miss St. game and it was played in the hometown of the Bearcats. I don't know if the Card fans should be commended or Cincy fans chastised. I'd say 3500-4000 fans made the trip. Good work.
- The Andy Kennedy situation was the talk of the press room with a lot of people staying to listen to what he had to say for himself afterwards. One guy was just completely grilling him. First he asked, "What happened lat night?" And Kennedy declined comment. The reporter then said "Well the bartender at 'The Lounge' bar said you were beligerant and asked to leave, is that true?" Kennedy declined comment again. Then the guy asked, "What were you doing out at 1 o'clock the night before the game?" Again Kennedy declined comment. The Ole Miss coach looked hungover and tired saying he had trouble focusing due to the rough previous 24 hours. - that's all I'm going to say about the situation until all the facts come out because the rumors were rampant.
Watching Peyton Siva play tonight. More tomorrow.