Facing one of the nation's top shooting teams, No. 6 Louisville used defense and a stellar offensive outing from Donovan Mitchell to defeat No. 16 Indiana 77-62 in the Countdown Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Saturday afternoon.
Indiana, among the nation's top ten field goal shooting squads, hovered near 25 percent from the floor for much of the game and finished at 33 percent for the game.
"When you get ready to play Indiana, it puts a lot of stress on a staff," Pitino said. "When you look at their shooting percentages and you understand how well they shoot the ball, you can understand that you're going to give up some drives once in a while, but you can't let them shoot the ball like they've been shooting it."
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The Hall of Fame head coach shuffled his starting lineup prior to the game, electing to start Anas Mahmoud, Ray Spalding and VJ King, along with usual starters Quentin Snider and Deng Adel.
The response, by those inserted into the starting mix, along with usual-starter Mitchell coming off the bench, was the jolt to the roster that Pitino had hoped for.
In addition to limiting Indiana to subpar shooting, it saw a few new 'stars' emerge for the Cardinals.
"I like to change things when you lose, get people out of their comfort zone, and I had a talk with Donovan Mitchell, and I said, 'look, son, I never thought I would take you out of the starting lineup," Pitino explained. "You know starting doesn't mean anything, but I just saw who wants to play like a star, and that means he's not counting his misses, he's someone that'll shoot every open shot, create and not worry about what the outside world thinks of his game."
Mitchell connected on 8 of 15 from the floor, including 4 of 8 beyond the three-point arc to finish with a game-high 25 points.
Deng Adel finished with 17 points, with Jaylen Johnson adding 13 points and Anas Mahmoud contributed 10 points.
Louisville shot 52.9 percent from the floor.
The Cardinals return to ACC play next, traveling to Notre Dame for a Wednesday evening contest.