Red-White scrimmage impresses Pitino

University of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino was impressed by the performance of his team in their first Red-White scrimmage on Saturday afternoon.

The defending national champion University of Louisville Cardinals made their first appearance of the 2013-14 college basketball season on Saturday afternoon in front of 8,280 at the KFC Yum! Center.

The new look Cardinals, practicing for just the fifth time and playing without Luke Hancock and Kevin Ware, played four quarters of uptempo offensive minded basketball that left their recently inducted Hall of Fame coach impressed.

"Very impressed by the five practices and the Red-White," said Pitino. "Hopefully our defense will get a lot better by the next Red-White and we can have more in by the following Red-White."

"For five games into the season we are in relatively good shape and all that's going on without Luke Hancock and Kevin Ware."

Led by Chane Behanan's 25 points and 13 rebounds, the Red squad downed the White squad 95-80. The Red team's backcourt received 24 points and a game-high 8 assists from senior Russ Smith and 21 points from junior college transfer Chris Jones.

"Very impressed with Russ Smith looking to make plays better, as well as scoring," Pitino said.

Montrezl Harrell paced the White squad with 23 points and 10 rebounds, with Wayne Blackshear adding 20 points and freshman guard Terry Rozier pouring in 18 points and grabbing a team-high 11 rebounds.

"The highlight obviously was our two power forwards played great," Pitino said of the play of Behanan and Harrell.

"I'm very impressed how Terry Rozier rebounded the baskeball. He showed that all throughout high school and that's a big plus when a guard can rebound like that."

Blackshear, who continues to regain his form following two shoulder injuries early in his career, displayed an ability to attack the basket, as well as a nice mid-range game.

"He's still not where he was in high school yet, but he's getting closer," Pitino said. "His ball handling is the last hurdle for us. In terms of exploding and in terms of making strong moves and playing good defense, his shot has improved, he's coming on."

The three newcomers to the U of L backcourt all performed well and displayed why each will play key roles this season. In addition to the impressive play of starters Jones and Rozier, Gill was exhibited his long range shooting touch, hitting 5 of 10 beyond the three point arc, while also pulling down 5 rebounds and handing out 4 assists.

"They all bring a lot to the table," said Pitino. "Rozier is as cool a customer as you'll see. I don't think Chris played particularly well tonight, but I've watched him in practice do some things that is just outstanding. I think Anton is a smooth basketball player. All three of them don't rattle and they know how to play the game."

Redshirt freshman center/forward Mangok Mathiang totaled 8 points, 10 rebounds and 6 blocks in 40 minutes of action. Reserve guard Tim Henderson added 10 points, while freshman forward Akoy Agau contributed 2 points and 3 rebounds in 17 minutes of play.

The Cardinals will return to the KFC Yum! Center next Saturday for the second of three Red-White scrimmages with tip-off scheduled for 3:30p.m. The final scrimmage is slated for October 19th at 1:00p.m. The Cardinals will welcome Kentucky Wesleyan for an exhibition contest on October 29.

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