U of L post duo a success in opener

One of the major question marks this season for the University of Louisville basketball team this season is at the center position. U of L coach Rick Pitino is searching for Gorgui Dieng's replacement. In the season-opening win over the College of Charleston is was Stephan Van Treese and Mangok Mathiang who combined to have 13 points and 17 rebounds.

University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino wasn't happy with the two main post players on his team after Wednesday's second exhibition game.

Pitino said senior Stephan Van Treese wasn't showing much emotion and hadn't been playing well, while freshman Mangok Mathiang was too inexperienced.

On Saturday, Van Treese and Mathiang had Pitino smiling.

The two centers combined for 13 points, 17 rebounds and three blocked shots as the Cardinals opened defense of the NCAA title with a 70-48 victory over the College of Charleston in the opener.

"We need hustle out of that position, that's all we need," Pitino said. "We know Mangok is going to get better by osmosis, it's just going to happen. We need Stephan to play like that, it gives us a big lift.

"Mangok and Stephan did what they had to do. Just play hard."

Mathiang started in the second exhibition game but it was Van Treese who got the nod in the opener. He only played seven minutes in the first half because he picked up two fouls and had no other statistics.

The 6-foot-11 Mathiang had five points, four rebounds and one blocked shot in the opening half, playing 17 minutes.

"We just got out there and took care of business," Mathiang said.

Van Treese stepped up in the second half with six points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks in 17 minutes of action. Mathiang played five minutes in the second half and had two points and six rebounds.

"We did what coach wanted us to do out of the five spot," Van Treese said. "I thought we did pretty well. If we can continue to do that and get that out of the five spot, that's only going to help our team."

Van Treese was a beast for the Cardinals in the second half, hustling all over the floor for loose balls and rebounds.

Pitino said he "did it by hustle. He didn't do it by finesse or making great moves," noting that he was "real proud of" Van Treese in the game.

"He's been pushing me all week and I know he was real upset at me after the last game," Van Treese said. "I knew if I didn't then I was going to hear it."

Mathiang was born in Sudan, Africa, but lived in Melbourne, Australia for several years before moving to the United States. He played two years of prep school basketball before sitting out last season at U of L.

Pitino said he's "only going to keep getting better."

"If I am not improving every day then I am not doing what I am supposed to be doing," Mathiang said. "That's my mentality and coach knows that, we are just going to get better at each and everything all the time."

Without Dieng, the Cardinals will need the two post players to step up.

"He wants that and every day we have to both get better," Mathiang said. "He knows that we can do it, we just have to keep doing it."

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