Siva opened the second half on the court and took a charge. The irony was that Siva wasn’t in position so it makes casual fans wonder if there is such a thing as make up calls.
The Ducks made clear their game plan. After a Louisville score, run the floor as quickly as possible to keep the Cards out of the press. They did that, but had trouble finishing because of the quickness from the Cardinals. Even when they got out in front on the break, Louisville closed so quickly that no shot went unchallenged.
CBS Sports announcers were so impressed with Smith’s play that they tried to re-coin his nickname as a silly sounding “Russtacular.” Too bad the nation has already bought into the similarly silly sounding “Russdiculous.”
Oregon went on a 13-5 run to cut the lead to 8 about 8 minutes into the second half. The Ducks did that on a few moments of sloppy defensive play that lead to cheap fouls by the Cards. Then Siva and Hancock both rained threes and Louisville was off to the races again.
The Ducks put another run together but for every set of baskets they could string together, the Cards had an answer. E.J. Singler and Dominic Artis kept Oregon in the game but on the other end, they couldn’t stop Smith who finished with 31 points.
In the end coach Pitino’s Sweet 16 unbeaten streak remains alive and the Cards get ready to play the winner of the Michigan State-Duke game on Sunday in the Elite Eight back in Indy.
Photo: Louisville.com/Tim Girton