University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino figured because of the trip to Puerto Rico in August that his team would be further along than normal to start the new season. But after one day of practice and a scrimmage Pitino was still elated.
In fact, Pitino said he was "really pleased" with the effort in the first Red-White scrimmage on Saturday.
The Red team won the first half 49-36 and then after switching up the teams a bit at halftime the Red team claimed the second half 45-43. The game was played before 9,643 fans at the KFC Yum! Center.
"I like this team and you are going to like these guys as much as any I've had in my 15 years at Louisville," Pitino said after the game.
It was a good start for the Cardinals.
Less than 24 hours since answering questions about allegations that former staffer Andre McGee hired escorts for players and recruits, the Cardinals were focused on just basketball in the scrimmage.
"I really just concentrate on basketball," Pitino said. "When any type of adversity hits - the strong survive. The only way you can be strong is to immerse yourself into work. Idleness – I'm not sure idleness is the devil's workshop – but idleness makes the mind wander and you don't think of great things. The best thing I can do is just immerse myself and just work, work, work until I pass out."
In the first half of the scrimmage, Anas Mahmoud and David Levitch led the Red team with 10 points apiece. Freshman Deng Adel chipped in nine points and five rebounds, while Ray Spalding had five points, three rebounds and three blocked shots.
The Red team hit 13 of 28 from the field and 20 of 26 free throws.
Sophomore Jaylen Johnson had 11 points, 10 rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals for the White team, while Chinanu Onuaku chipped in eight points and five rebounds but also had eight fouls in 16 minutes.
It was freshman Donovan Mitchell with the big second half to lead the Red team, getting 13 points, six rebounds, five steals and four assists on 6 of 12 from the field. Trey Lewis added 10 points and Jaylen Johnson had nine points and eight rebounds for the Red team.
Mahmoud and Damion Lee led the White team in the second half with 11 points apiece, while Mahmoud also led the team with eight rebounds. Ray Spalding finished with seven points, six rebounds and two blocked shots.
Louisville will host a final scrimmage on Oct. 17 before playing Bellarmine in the first exhibition game on Nov. 1.