Garcia leads Red past White in scrimmage, 90-81

The Reds, led by Francisco Garcia, defeated the Whites, 90-81 Friday night at Louisville Gardens.

After five practices and one intense scrimmage Friday night in front of a sold out Louisville Gardens crowd, a few things are quite clear about the 2003-04 University of Louisville basketball team.

This team can run the floor. This team is loaded with talented athletes. And this team can shoot the lights out!

The Red team, which started Taquan Dean at point guard, Garcia at shooting guard, Nate Daniels at small forward, with Kendall Dartez and Otis George inside defeated the White team of Brandon Jenkins, Larry O'Bannon, Luke Whitehead, Nouha Diakite and Alhaji Mohammed, 90-81.

"It was really a fun scrimmage," Rick Pitino said afterward. "And that's what I think this team is all about. I think they're a lot of fun to watch on offense, they look for each other and they're very quick down the court. Now we just have to get our defense and our rebounding to catch up with our offense."

In a hard fought, hotly contested contest that saw players diving all over the court for loose balls and battling in the paint for each rebound, Coach Pitino believes the scrimmage provides his young team with invaluable experience heading into the season.

"We got a lot out of it," Pitino said. "It was really good for us to play in front of spectators like this. When guys are getting on the floor and trying to win like this it's invaluable for your ball club."

Despite 7 turnovers, Francisco Garcia was clearly the standout Friday night with 19 points, 12 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals. Garcia played all 40 minutes and made 3-6 three point attempts.

"I really believe that as Francisco gets older and stronger he's even going to get better," Pitino said. "I've said this all along, he could become a great one. Because of his passing he makes the team better."

Another player U of L fans focused on was Taquan Dean, who is making the transition from shooting guard to the point this season. Dean finished with 18 points and seven rebounds but turned the ball over 6 times with just three assists on the night.

"I thought Taquan was excellent tonight," Pitino said. "He's got to cut down on his turnovers but he's getting used to it and he'll get better each time out."

Dean's confident he'll make the transition fine but says he needs to find a comfort level at the position.

"I'm just getting comfortable with it," Dean said of his new position. "I'm still not comfortable yet but I'm good with getting the ball up the floor and things like that. So once I get comfortable I'll be good to go."

For the Red Team, Kendall Dartez had 18 points and 8 rebounds, George finished with 12 points and point guard Prileu Davis made 4-4 three points to finsih with 13 points. Highly touted JUCO transfer Nate Daniels struggled shooting the ball and finished with 7 points and 7 rebounds.

For the White Team, Whitehead had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and O'Bannon finished with 18 points and 4 assists. Forward Ellis Myles returned in style with 14 points and six rebounds and JUCO center Nouha Diakite finished with 6 points and 9 rebounds.

On the night, the two teams combined to shoot 18-44 from behind the arch and handed out an amazing 46 assists.

The Red Team made 33-64 shots overall but was outrebounded by the smaller White Team, 45-32. The White Team connected on 32-69 from the field.

Another bright spot for Coach Pitino was the play of his three walk-ons, Perrin Johnson, Chris Current and Brad Gianiny. Johnson displayed his athleticism and finished with 5 points, 4 rebounds and a blocked shot. Gianiny showed crafty ball handling skills and superb vision and finished with 6 points and 3 assists. Current had 3 points in five minutes of action. Each of the walk-ons made at least one three pointer.

Louisville opens the season November 3 against EA Sports in Freedom Hall.

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