BLACKSHEAR COMES UP BIG
The 6-foot-5 Blackshear played one of his best games of the season, finishing with 19 points and seven rebounds and getting a driving layup in the final minute as the Cardinals survived 57-55 over UC-Irvine in the NCAA Tournament.
"I knew they couldn't guard me going to the basket," Blackshear said. "I wanted to make sure we advanced. It was a tough game but we wanted it."
Blackshear was there in the end to corral a loose ball as the clock ran out and then celebrated with his teammates. The Cardinals play Northern Iowa on Sunday.
"Wayne played great," Montrezl Harrell said. "He really stepped up when we needed him. He came through big for us tonight."
Blackshear was 8 of 20 from the field, a new career-high for attempts, and hit his only two free throws. He was 2 of 8 from three-point range.
He now has 998 career points and could become the 67th player in U of L history to get to the 1,000-point mark. He also has 398 career rebounds.
SLOWING THE BIG GUY
Mangok Mathiang picked up two fouls in the first three minutes of the game and sat the rest of the first half. But he came up big on defense in the second half for the Cardinals against the 7-foot-6 Mamadou Ndiaye.
Ndiaye was 6 of 9 from the field and finished with 12 points and five rebounds, but Mathiang did what Pitino called a "nice job" late in the game on him.
"He made all the plays down the stretch that we needed on the defensive end," Pitino said of Mathiang. "And that will never show up."
Mathiang finished with three rebounds and two steals in 21 minutes.
"I did what I could against him," Mathiang said. "He was so big. Really, there wasn't much I could do with him down there. I just did what I could."
FREE THROWS IMPROVE
The Cardinals hit all six free-throw attempts in the game, marking the first time this season they have not missed from the line.
U of L didn't do it all of last season either.
The Cardinals have shown drastic improvement from the line this season. Pitino said earlier in the week that "we have worked really, really had at it."
In the first eight games of the year, U of L was 114 of 239 (59 percent) but has since hit 333 of 476 (69.9 percent) in 25 games.
Snider is 18 of 29 on the season.
A FEW LEFTOVERS
**** Freshman center Chinanu Onuaku left the game with a back injury after 14 minutes. He was checked out by Fred Hina on the sidelines and available to go back in. Onuaku said after the game that he would "be fine." He played 14 minutes and had one rebound.
****U of L has now committed fewer turnovers than its opponents in 22 of 33 games this season and is 19-3 in those games. UC-Irvine finished with 14 and U of L had nine.
****In the last 11 years, U of L is 46-15 in the postseason.
****The Cardinals have held opponents to under 60 points in 18 games this season, including 13 of the past 25 games.
****Louisville is 21-3 this season when leading at halftime.