Analysis: Cards defense stymies Wildcats

Davidson had few answers for Louisville stars Peyton Siva and Chane Behenan, but it was the Cardinals defense that proved the difference against the Wildcats in Thursday's opening round NCAA Tournament contest.

Louisville defeated Davidson 69-62 in the NCAA Tournament second round Thursday in Portland. Despite foul problems to stars Gorgui Dieng and Peyton Siva, the Cardinals advanced to the third round with outstanding defense, limiting high-scoring Davidson to just 35 percent shooting. Here's instant analysis of the game:

IT WAS OVER WHEN: Chris Smith made the first of two free throws to push Louisville's advantage to 59-44 with 3:22 remaining. That free throw capped a 7-2 run and came during a six minute stretch where the Cardinals held Davidson to just one field goal.

KEY STATS: 62 and 35
Louisville advanced to the NCAA third round for one major reason: their defense. The Cardinals held high-scoring Davidson, who came into the game 12th nationally in scoring, to 62 points -- 16 points below their seasons average. Though Louisville forced just 10 turnovers, the Cardinals held Davidson to 35 percent shooting, including just 4 of 19 from the three-point line.


Despite fouling out, Peyton Siva continued his strong post-season play in Louisville's win over the Wildcats.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Peyton Siva carved up Davidson's defense before fouling out late in the game and helped Louisville establish early control of the contest. But freshman Chane Behanan gets the nod with a double-double in his first NCAA Tournament game. The 6'7 Behanan was unstoppable around the basket and controlled the boards, finishing with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Behanan grabbed six offensive rebounds, made 4 of 5 free throws and helped the Cardinals establish inside dominance.

BIG PLAY: With Louisville leading 28-24 late in the first half, Russ Smith gave the Cardinals some needed breathing room - and confidence - with a three-pointer in transition at 1:09 before the break. After Smith's three-pointer, which came off an assist from Kyle Kuric, Louisville maintained control the rest of the way.

TURNING POINT: After a few first half lead changes, Gorgui Dieng picked up his third foul with 10:15 remaining in the first half. With the Cards leading 16-15 at the time, Davidson could have made a run with the 6'10 shot-blocker on the bench. Instead, the Cardinals turned up the defensive intensity and closed the half with a 17-10 run that gave them a 33-25 halftime cushion.

TOP RESERVE Russ Smith was the leading scorer off the bench with six, and Jared Swopshire contributed four points and four rebounds with Gorgui Dieng sitting out with foul trouble. But we'll go with Elisha Justice for his steady play in relief of Peyton Siva. Justice scored just two points, but he only committed one turnover and was a steadying influence for the Cardinals with Siva on the bench.


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