1. Defense was outstanding: U of L coach Rick Pitino said we would see more and more zone defense and that was the case here. The Cardinals full-court pressure was outstanding and the zone defense totally confused College of Charleston. It was, by far, the best defensive effort of the season. The Cardinals forced 16 turnovers in the first half. They finished with 27 turnovers (18 on steals) and that matched the season high by Manhattan. It was the sixth game that U of L has forced more than 20 turnovers. It was fun to watch.
2. The best of Wayne Blackshear: Sure, sophomore Wayne Blackshear led the team with 18 points but that wasn't the only thing he did. Blackshear had his all-around best game and is starting to emerge as the player he was in high school when he was named a McDonald's All-American. He had four rebounds, three steals, two assists and had no turnovers in the effort. He has to continue to play like this and perhaps even better for the Cardinals to be as good as expected.
3. Van Treese was "awesome": A lot of folks worried about who would step up when Gorgui Dieng broke his left wrist two weeks ago. But there's been no need to fret so far. Senior Stephan Van Treese has been what Rick Pitino called "awesome" in filling in for Dieng. Zach Price has been starting but for the third straight game it was Van Treese who had the best effort. He finished with four points and 10 rebounds in the victory. Van Treese is active and he knows his limits. He's also very active on the offensive boards.
4. Overall, a great night for Cardinal basketball: Pitino said after the game he wanted to keep the series going. College of Charleston will win a lot of games this season and the atmosphere was great, until the defense took the crowd out of the game a few minutes into it. But it was a win-win for the Cardinals. They had a solid road game against a good team. Plus, they played the best overall, combined effort of the season in the game.
5. A few leftover observations: U of L only made 4 of 14 three-point field goals but did hit 18 of 20 from the free-throw line. . . . Russ Smith during on stretch in the first half picked up three consecutive shooting fouls, making 5 of 6 free throws. . . . Peyton Siva led the way with five steals, while Smith had four assists. . . . Freshman Montrezl Harrell had two blocked shots. . .. Pitino was excited about the performance from Kevin Ware, who had nine points, two steals, two rebounds and no turnovers in 21 minutes.