UofL BASKETBALL | Size is the difference maker in Louisville's win over Southern Illinois

12/07/2016 10:04 PM

The no. 11 University of Louisville basketball won convincingly over Southern Illinois on Wednesday night, beating the Salukis 74-51. The Cardinals jumped out to a 21-4 lead right from the opening whistle, and that early buffer would ultimately stand the test of the entire game.

Senior center Mangok Mathiang led the Louisville scoring effort with 15 to accompany his five rebounds. The opening minutes of the game were Mangok’s time to shine. The 6-foot-10 big man netted the first seven points of the game and had nine of the Cardinals’ first 21 points. Sophomore wing Deng Adel had one of the most complete stat lines for the winning team. Adel finished with 12 points and a game-high 12 boards.

Jaylen Johnson was the defensive star for U of L. In addition to nine points and 10 rebounds, the junior forward block six Salukis shots. In total, the Cards forced 17 SIU turnovers and scored 17 points off of those turnovers.

The Louisville size was clearly an issue for SIU. The tallest member of the Salukis’ roster is 6-foot-9. U of L has five players that are the same height or taller.*
The Cardinals outscored SIU 40-22 in the paint, and out-rebounded SIU 43-31.

It was a dominant performance by the stat sheet, but it was not consistently dominant enough for head coach Rick Pitino’s liking. After the game, there was more criticism than praise following the 20+ point win. Pitino’s comments focused on his desire to see more from the Louisville passing game. He said he wants to see he team get more gratification from being the one with an assist than the one with a basket. He also said the defense has a long way to go.

This was Louisville’s third win in a row, and improves the Cardinals’ record to 8-1. They have a short turnaround before playing Texas Southern on Saturday.

*Only four players 6-foot-9 or taller played against SIU. Junior forward Anas Mahmoud did not play because of a concussion.

Garrett Moore

Garrett is a Sports Producer for Spectrum News. He is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State and got his start as a sports photographer. He now produces Sports Night, the state’s only nightly show dedicated to in-depth coverage of all sports in Kentucky. Sports Night airs weeknights at 6:30 and 10:30 on Spectrum News or anytime with Spectrum On Demand. Outside the station, Garrett enjoys golfing, hiking, fishing, and prides himself on being all-in as a sports spectator. He won a gift card for playing an air guitar in the student section during an MTSU basketball game. Follow Garrett on Twitter @SportsNightGM for real-time sports updates or if you just want to see the shenanigans that go on behind the scenes in getting Sports Night on the air.

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