UofL BASKETBALL | Cards win big in NCAA Tournament opener

03/17/2017 05:32 PM

It took the no. 2 seed Louisville Cardinals a full eight minutes to find any sort of offense, but when the shots started to fall, it spelled the end for no. 15 seed Jacksonville State. The Cardinals beat the Gamecocks 78-63 in Indianapolis and advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

JSU started the game with 10-2 run, Louisville was unable to execute on offense, and saw two separate dunk attempts rejected by the rim. Jacksonville held the lead for most of the first half, staying just a couple points ahead of the Cardinals. Then with 7:38 to play in the first, Louisville trailed 19-15 when Mangok Mathiang drew a foul while laying in a basket and converted the 3-point play.

That play sparked the Cardinals 12-4 Louisville run over the next two minutes to take the lead. U of L would keep the momentum heading into the break, leading 38-31 at halftime. Donovan Mitchell’s offensive struggles continued, missing his first eight shots, but was crucial in other parts of them game, dishing three assists and grabbing six rebounds in the first period.

The second half was all Louisville. JSU scored the first two points, but the Cards then shut them down for over three minutes, scoring six points themselves in the same time period. Louisville would lead by as many as 17 points in the second half, but JSU crawled back to within 10 around the 7:00 minute mark.

U of L was ultimately able to keep the pressure on, and will move on to play Michigan in the round of 32 on Sunday.

A big difference in the match-up was the Cards’ press. It seemed to wear the Gamecocks out throughout the second half.

Sunday’s game against Michigan will be a rematch of the 2013 National Championship, a game which saw the Cards walk away with the trophy. Mathiang was part of the team that year and remembers the experience.

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