Depth tested against Marshall as Cards improve to 3-0
11/24/2014 07:30 AM
After opening the season with a good win over Minnesota and a blowout against Jacksonville State, a number of unknowns still surrounded the UofL basketball team.
The game against the Golden Gophers was relatively close but it never felt in doubt, and the Gamecocks hardly put up a fight. Through two games the Cards had not faced much, if any, adversity. Fast forward to Marshall, and the game appeared to be trending in a similar fashion.
Despite a slow start, the Cards led by 14 at halftime. But within the first few minutes of the second half, All-American forward Montrezl Harrell picked up his third and fourth fouls. He would have to sit for an extended period of time, and UofL was forced to rely on freshman Chinanu Onuaku and sophomore Mangok Mathiang.
The pair of big men delivered. In the third start of his young career, Onuaku notched his second double double. The six-foot-10 center scored 10 points on a perfect 5-5 from the field, grabbed 11 rebounds and added two steals. As for Mathiang, he continued to play well is his role as a backup, pulling down 11 rebounds, blocking three shots and securing three steals in a very aggressive outing.
Louisville went on to win the game 85-67, and the big-man tandem proved that the Cards do have an alternative when foul trouble plagues their star player.
Even with one mystery solved, a few remain.
Chris Jones is averaging just under 14 points per game and scored 18 against Marshall, but the senior guard is shooting just 29.5% from the field. If Jones can find his shot, the UofL offense becomes that much more deadly.
Speaking of guards, where do the Cards turn for more help on the perimeter? Jones, Terry Rozier and even Wayne Blackshear are having good seasons so far, but they could use some help. Against the Thundering Herd, walk-on Dan Levitch was the answer. But his backcourt teammates, Quentin Snyder and Anton Gill, are still struggling to establish themselves in the rotation.
All in all, UofL has looked pretty good through the first three games. There were many questions in the preseason about whether or not this team was worthy of its top-10 ranking. So far, the Cards have looked the part, and they will look to keep it rolling against Savannah State Monday night. Tipoff for that game is set for 7 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center.
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