ITV Gallery: Red - White Scrimmage
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George, Garcia lead Red to Victory, 76-75

Francisco Garcia and Otis George led the Red to a 76-75 victory over the White in U of L's third intra-squad scrimmage of the preseason Saturday afternoon in downtown Louisville. <P> <B>FULL COVERAGE:</B><BR><a href="http://louisville.theinsiders.com/2/199088.html"><B>ITV Gallery: Red - White Scrimmage</B><BR> <a href="http://louisville.theinsiders.com/2/199019.html"><B>ITV Video: Red - White post game comments</B></a><img src="http://media.theinsiders.com/media/site_logo/premium.gif">

U of L Head Coach Rick Pitino told the crowd prior to his team's third intra-squad scrimmage of the preseason that defense would be a major focus during the game.

And if the number of turnovers forced was any indication, Pitino's young bunch certainly turned up the defensive pressure on Saturday.

"Well it was an exciting finish," Pitino said. "Because of all the turnovers it looked like an NBA game with all the low scoring. We obviously want to score more points than that. But because of all the turnovers by the red team..they shot 55% but only scored 76 points because they had 26 turnovers. And that's not what a fast break, running team can do. You've got to keep the turnovers around 14 or 15 and be much more aggressive with the basketball."

The White's Luke Whitehead, Larry O'Bannon, Kendall Dartez, Taquan Dean, and Alhaji Mohammed committed 22 turnovers on the day.

The White team led most of the game behind strong efforts by Whitehead, O'Bannon, Dartez and Dean. They led 33-30 at half time primarily because of their excellent marksmanship from beyond the three point line, knocking down 7-15 threes before intermission.

But the Red's, despite its turnover problem, used a strong performace from Otis George and the clutch play of Francisco Garcia and Nate Daniels down the stretch to pull out a 76-75 victory.

George was outstanding, scoring 28 points on 10-12 shooting, including 3-3 from beyond the arch. He also had 9 rebounds and 3 steals.

"Otis was in the zone a little bit shooting the ball," Pitino said. "But he's got to stop falling down...he's got try to stay on his feet."

But it was Garcia and Daniels who put the Red's over the hump down the stretch.

Trailing the White with 8 minutes to go, Garcia took over on the offensive end for the Red. During the last 7:35, Garcia scored 10 points and dished out three assists to Daniels, the last two for three's that proved to be the difference.

"We keep trying to play as many of these things as possible because we think Iowa has a major advantage with their experience, the fact that they were on a foreign tour, and play two regular season games before they play us," Pitino explained. "So we're trying to get as competitive as possible in these situations."

Nouha Diakite played 36 minutes for the Red Team and turned in a strong performance on the boards, pulling down nine. Freshman Brandon Jenkins was aggresive going to the hole but committed nine turnovers to just two assists. Daniels made 7-13 shots overall, including 3-7 three pointers for 17 points. He also had 5 boards, an assist and a steal in 31 minutes of action.

For the White Team, Whitehead had 20 points, 12 rebounds, 6 steals, including three during a one minute stretch midway through the second half and 3 assists. He also made 2-3 shots from behind the three point stripe. O'Bannon scored 14 points on 4-6 three point shooting, while Kendall Dartez poured in 14 points to go with his 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Taquan Dean also had 14 points, nailing 4 threes and handing out 5 assists to just 3 turnovers. Alhaji Mohammed pitched in 10 points and 4 rebounds.

"There's progress," Pitino said of his team's improvement at the defensive end of the court. "But we have a long way to go because our frontcourt is so thin and we've got to be careful fo foul trouble and that we don't get beat off the dribble forcing weak rotations."

The Cards face Asheville (NC) of the NBDL on November 23 in Freedom Hall.

Notes

  • The Red's outrebounded that White's 34-29 and the action in the paint was fierce.
  • The defensive pressure was tight the whole game from both teams with lots of hands in the passing lane and the play was physical underneath the basket.
  • The two best players so far this season? Well according to Pitino it's Dean and Whitehead. "Luke and Taquan have been playing the best basketball on the team," Pitino said. "Luke and Taquan have been sticking out the most from a fundamental standpoint."
  • "We're all focused on working hard on defense," Whitehead said. "We're tyring to get our defense up to the same level as our offense."
  • "I had open shots and I just made them," George said of his 28 point effort.

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