USA Today Sports

Louisville hit just 29.7 percent from the field and had to go to overtime but survived with a 68-62 win over Old Dominion

The University of Louisville survived a scare on Wednesday night, hitting 14 of 18 free throws in overtime to beat Old Dominion 68-62 in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. The Cardinals will play Wichita State at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Well, that wasn't pretty.

The University of Louisville basketball team hit just 29.7 percent from the field, trailed by as much as seven points in the second half and needed overtime to grab a 68-62 victory over Old Dominion in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in the Bahamas.

The Cardinals jumped out to a 7-0 lead but needed a flurry in the final eight minutes of regulation from Donovan Mitchell and also 14 of 18 free throws in overtime to put away the Monarchs.

It marked the first time the Cardinals have won a game while shooting under 30 percent. U of L was 19 of 64 from the field, including 8 of 20 from three-point range. U of L finished 22 of 35 from the free-throw line.

U of L did turn Old Dominion over 23 times and the Monarchs were just 15 of 32 on free throws.

MVP of the game

I wouldn't have thought this going into the final 10 minutes of the game because he struggled so much, but Donovan Mitchell came up huge for the Cardinals and was the MVP of the game.

Mitchell started the game 1-for-11 and then he turned it on for his team.

He only finished 4 of 16 from the field but hit 3 of 6 three-pointers - and all three came late in the game or overtime. Mitchell finished with 15 points, seven rebounds, seven steals and two assists.

In overtime, Mitchell came up with two steals that lead to four free throws. He was 4 of 5 from the line.

While it wasn't his best game ever, Mitchell is a gamer and kept battling through a tough shooting game and ended up making a lot of plays for his team down the stretch. That's what big-time players do.

Three key takeaways

1. Ball movement was awful: There bad shots - and a lot of them - but for the most part the offensive woes were because of the bad ball movement. The Cardinals had too many guys standing around flat footed and not moving it around enough.

I've been looking for a shot chart from the game, but I can only imagine that not many of the 19 made field goals came from mid-range. Seemed like the Cardinals were not moving into those spaces where they could get a few easier buckets.

They must improve the ball movement to be able to shoot it better.

2. Rebounding woes...: There's no way the Louisville team with so many big guys should get outrebounded by the Monarchs. Yes, Old Dominion was scrappy but you still have to box out and get the boards. Louisville lost the battle 51-49, giving up 13 offensive rebounds.

It wasn't about effort, just blocking out and making sure you are taking care of your man. A perfect example was the last-second shot in regulation. Old Dominion missed a layup and a guy gets to the rim without anyone putting a body on him.

3. Some grit and toughness: It was as ugly as can be but also give the guys credit for being a gritty bunch. Down seven, the Cards could have packed it in but in fact made a defensive stop and then the run by Mitchell started.

Again, it won't be a highlight reel game but they did show a lot of toughness.

Three pointers

*****While Quentin Snider was just 4 of 16 from the field, it was a better game for the floor general and he did nail three three-pointers. Snider finished with 18 points and four assists with just two turnovers in 39 minutes.

*****The Cards have now won 21 straight games against teams from Conference-USA; the win was the 749th in the career of Rick Pitino and his 395th victory as the coach at U of L.

*****Louisville was a double-digit favorite over the Monarchs but that is a team that has won 52 games the last two years and returns four starters back off its team. So they were no average mid-major.

Quotable . . . 

U of L assistant coach Kenny Johnson summing up the victory:

"We knew it was going to be about who got their pace and obviously tonight they got their pace. It was a gutsy win for our young group. We made a lot of mistakes but we have to learn from them. And right now, we don't have a lot of time to get ready."

Up next . . .

It's a quick turnaround.

Louisville will face Wichita State in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday. Michigan State and Baylor will play in the first semifinal at noon. The games are on ESPN.

Cardinal Authority Top Stories