In the first half against Ole Miss, you saw the University of Louisville play better than it has all season to jump out to a 32-14 lead.
And then you saw it play inexcusably bad basketball for the rest of the half.
The reason? Poor guard play. Careless guard play. Reckless guard play.
Up 18, Edgar Sosa was stripped and Jerry Smith walked. Earlier in the half, Sosa had pulled up for a fadeaway 12-footer when he had numbers on the break. How does an upperclassman do this?
Later in the half, Andre McGee came down on one possession, pulled up with a foot on the three-point line without ever running any offense and missed.
Twice Preston Knowles pulled up for needless long-range shots, one on the left wing and another from five feet behind the line at the top right.
Meanwhile, they stopped containing the dribble-drive and allowed some three-point looks for the Rebels.
It’s not the first time. Sosa seems to deem a double-digit lead as his personal garbage time. And for the last six minutes of the first half, that’s exactly what the Cards got.
Now, Samuardo Samuels hasn’t had his usual half, and you can see his frustration. Shots he has been making all season haven’t been falling, because Ole Miss is getting bodies and hands on him when he shoots. But it’s nothing compared with what he will see in Big East play.
Terrence Williams has had a strange game, really not factoring on anything at either end, and actually looking less effective in stretches than Reggie Delk, who has had his best minutes as a Cardinal.
U o fL has forced only four turnovers. And it has taken 10 fewer shots. If Ole Miss weren’t 2-for-15, it would have the lead in this game, despite 18 first-half points from Earl Clark.
And finally this. How does a guy score 17 points in 8 minutes, then get ZERO field goal attempts the rest of the half? (He did get a pair of free throws). While the defense no doubt stepped out on him, it’s a flaw in the offense, and really, of the guards. If you’ve got a guy who can do that, you find a way to drive and dish, not shoot and wish.
U of L’s guards are too experienced to be playing like this. May be a game from here on out. It was a confident Ole Miss group that just bounded off the court.