Harrell has breakout game for Cards

University of Louisville freshman Montrezl Harrell had his break out game against Syracuse in the Big East Conference Tournament final. Cardinal Authority talked to Harrell about his big effort and where he goes from here.

Montrezl Harrell has several good games throughout the season.

But it wasn't until the championship game of the Big East Conference Tournament on Saturday night in Madison Square Gardens that the University of Louisville freshman had the best game of his short career.

The 6-foot-8 Harrell had 20 points, seven rebounds and one blocked shot in 24 minutes, hitting 7 of 13 from the field and 6 of 9 free throws in helping the Cardinals come from 16 points down to tag Syracuse with a 78-61 loss.

"That is the Montrezl Harrell we have all been waiting on," assistant coach Kevin Keatts said. "Coach has really been on him about rebounding the ball and he certainly did impact this game.

"This is the guy everybody has been waiting on."

Harrell was the dominant interior player in the game during the second half. He scored 14 points in the final 11 minutes of the game, making jumpers, dunking on several Syracuse players and the 46.8 percent shooter made his free throws.

"In college basketball, you never know," U of L coach Rick Pitino said. "And tonight this young man gave us a tremendous lift."

Harrell, who came into the game averaging 5.4 points and 3.7 rebounds in 16.6 minutes a game, was the U of L player waving his hands at the fans and pumping up his teammates when the Cardinals were trailing.

"Coming into this game I had a lot of confidence," Harrell said. "I had a lot of confidence in myself and I had a lot of confidence in my team. When I shot my first shot, I knew that it was going in."

"I felt good about the whole game. I just wanted to play as hard as I could and help my team get the win."

Harrell said now that he's had his breakout game, that's not all he wants to do this season. He said he "still has to keep working hard and improving," and wants to make sure he helps his team keep winning in the NCAA Tournament.

"I didn't come into the game looking to score 20 or get a bunch of dunks," Harrell said. "I just wanted to get the win and finish anything I could. We still have a lot of work to do and I want to make sure we keep winning."

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