Louisville came out cold in the second half which gave Cincinnati a chance to come back and tie the score. Then the subs went on a tear. Montrezl Harrell, Luke Hancock, Kevin Ware and Stephan Van Treese made plays and got the entire arena buzzing.
Cincinnati’s halftime adjustment was to stop Siva after he torched them in the first half. That much was clear. That strategy proved effective because Siva didn’t score again in the game and found himself in foul trouble. Unfortunately for the Bearcats, the Cardinals are a deep team and didn’t seem to skip a beat.
And while they stopped Louisville’s senior point guard, they didn’t stop Pitino’s halftime adjustments, which involved tougher defense. How tough? Cincy shot 29.2% in the second half, didn’t hit a single three pointer after the break and only scored 20 second half points. Bearcat star Cashmere Wright scored 15 points but only 7 in the second half.
Gorgui Dieng played like the potential first round NBA draft choice that coach Pitino thinks he can be: 11 points and 9 rebound. He was a force inside, making Bearcat players think twice before going inside.
The Cards shot selection improved as well. They fired 54.2% for the second half, getting 42 total points in the paint, 16 second chance points and 16 off the fast break. Easy buckets like that will always make your stats look good.
Next up for Louisville comes this Saturday in a Senior Day showdown with Notre Dame. This will be the follow up to the 5 overtime thriller from February in South Bend. The final game of the regular season tips off at the KFC Yum! Center at 4pm.
Photos: Louisville.com/Tim Girton