Solid first half for both teams here in Dayton, with U of L leading 42-35. The Cards had a chance to open major breathing room early but Siena, which has been in that situation before, knocked down some big shots and didn’t let it happen.
The Saints trailed 30-10 at Kansas of and came back, so it’s not surprising they didn’t let this one slip away early.
Siena made its last 8 shots of the first half. Just as important, U of L scored on its last five first-half possessions.
A few notes:
— Siena held a 9-7 rebounding edge after eight minutes. U of L outrebounded the Saints 18-9 the rest of the way.
— Of U of L’s six turnovers, I counted four as being unforced. The Cards have not scored a single point off turnovers. Siena has turned it over just three times in the game.
— The Cards have a 16-8 edge in second-chance points.
— Ronald Moore has six assists for Siena. Samardo Samuels has 4 blocked shots, and Terrence Williams has 7 rebounds for Louisville. Clark has eight points and six rebounds for U of L, but as I said on my pregame podcast, they’re just asking him to do too much ballhandling to get in scoring position. His turnovers hurt — he’s had three this half, which is half the team’s total.
— Can’t remember a better overall half from Edgar Sosa, who has 6 points and 3 assists, and pretty good defensive effort. When he dived out of bounds after a loose ball, Pitino bent down and swatted him five times on the backside, he was so fired up.
Adjustments? The Cards need to do a better job of cutting out penetration to the middle of their zone. Aside from going to man-to-man, I don’t know what they can do to keep the Saints from getting good three-point looks. Even the shots Siena has missed were pretty good looks from the outside.
If U of L continues to control the rebounding, it’ll win by double-digits. But I don’t think it will be a runaway. It’ll be interesting to see if the Cards can mount their usual second half run.
Siena’s leaders, Kenny Hasbrouck, Edwin Ubiles, Alex Franklin and Ronald Moore huddled, just the four of them, before leaving the court at halftime. Don’t think they’re going to go down easily.