University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino called a 109-71 win over Kentucky Wesleyan in the Cardinals' first exhibition game of the season a good starting point for this team.
The Cardinals had five players score in double figures and 12 of the 14 players who participated in the game scored.
"We did a lot of good things offensively; the pace was terrific," Pitino said. "Defensively we have a long way to go. We did a good job on our presses, but the defense has to get a lot better. We will get a lot of experience from that. But offensively we did a good job of sharing the basketball, of moving the basketball, the pace was terrific."
The Cardinals played the game in front of 15,836 fans.
Three Key Takeaways
1. The new style will be exciting: The Cardinals are playing a new style this season with Pitino saying the up-tempo pace will be motion offense and 90 percent man-to-man on defense. And on this night that was the script.
The new style gets the Cardinals running at a fast-pace and really showcases the athleticism of this team. The idea, Pitino said, is to get the ball up the floor and to mid-court within three seconds.
Pitino said in this game the Cardinals were "brilliant" in that regards.
2. Scoring won't be an issue: Quentin Snider is the leading scorer back from last season at 9.4 points a game, but scoring points won't be an issue for this team with a ton of weapons.
The Cardinals had five players in double figures, had 12 of 14 score and 11 of those had seven or more points.
3. Ryan McMahon more than a shooter? We know Ryan McMahon can shoot the ball, so the 3 of 4 three-pointers and 14 points in nine minutes of the second half were not a surprise. But McMahon had a steal, a rebounds and three back tips on defense.
Pitino said he's come "a long way" in those areas.
"Ryan did a lot of good things defensively," he said. "We know he can shoot, and he gives a big lift because he haves two back tips, he can play defense well, he obviously made the shots and that's when it went from 20 to a blowout because of his efforts."
MVP of the game
You could go with several players but I'll say Deng Adel.
The sophomore is so much more confident than he was last season and he showed his improvement from the end of last season. Adel takes it to the basket and has such good body control.
Adel only played 23 minutes and was 5 of 7 from the field. He led the team with 16 points and seven rebounds and also had three assists.
He's going to be a fun one to watch.
*****Louisville shot 9 of 17 from three-point range, including 6 of 9 in the second half. The Cardinals were 22 of 31 from the free-throw line and 39 of 65 from the field, including one stretch of 11 straight in the second half.
*****Pitino was pleased with the passing of his team. Eight players had assists, including all five starters. The Cardinals finished with 21 assists on 39 made field goals against the Panthers.
*****The field-goal attempts were spread around the roster with Quentin Snider and Donovan Mitchell's nine attempts the most on the team. All five starters attempted at least six shots.
Next up. . .
Louisville will practice early tomorrow before Pitino heads out on a recruiting trip.
The Cardinals will then practice Sunday afternoon before taking on Bellarmine on Monday night at 7:02 p.m. in the second exhibition game of the season. The regular-season opener is next Friday against Evansville.
"We had a lot of positive things," Pitino said. "But we're not ready to open with Evansville that's for sure."
<iframe src="//widgets.boxxspring.com/MzAsNDAzNzY2MDY" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>