Blackshear playing 'more relaxed' for Cards

A move to the bench for University of Louisville junior Wayne Blackshear had been beneficial for his game. In three games as a reserve, U of L coach Rick Pitino says Blackshear has been able to "get into the groove." Cardinal Authority has the latest.

In five games before he started to come off the bench, University of Louisville junior Wayne Blackshear averaged just 15 minutes a game.

Blackshear fouled out in three of those five games and had four fouls in a fourth with U of L coach Rick Pitino saying he needed to "get him more minutes."

"We have to keep him out of foul trouble," Pitino said them.

So far, it's been good for the Cardinals. Blackshear has scored 48 points in three games coming off the bench and has just six fouls.

"That was the idea for me, to stay out of foul trouble," Blackshear said. "So far, it has been working. It's been good so far.

"I think I'm just more relaxed."

Pitino said he wanted to give Blackshear an opportunity to play more minutes and in three games Blackshear has played 29, 27 and 25 minutes.

In the first game off the bench, Blackshear scored a career-high 23 points and seven rebounds against Houston. He was 8 of 10 from the field, including 5 of 6 from three-point range in the contest.

Blackshear then had nine points four rebounds and two assists against Connecticut and a team-high 16 points in the win over South Florida.

"He's playing more relaxed," Pitino said. "Wayne was never getting into a groove. He would get two fouls and then he would sit.

"Even when he went back in, he was tentative because he didn't want that third foul. Now, he's not tentative at all."

Pitino said he's made the team better because of his play and because with Luke Hancock starting now, "that gives us three guards" in the lineup.

Blackshear is averaging 10.2 points and 3.3 rebounds a game, while he's second on the team in steals with 25.

But Blackshear said he's still "not where I need to be."

"I just need to rebound, try to be more active on the glass," he said. "I still need to be more active and get better.

"But I think I am taking on my role in the right way."

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