Garcia leads Red team to 101-89 scrimmage win

All-American forward Francisco Garcia led the Red team to a 101-89 victory over the White team Saturday morning in the University of Louisville's first public intrasquad scrimmage of the preseason.

University of Louisville All-American forward Francisco Garcia scored 24 points and dished out 8 assists to lead the Red team to a 101-89 victory over the White team in Saturday morning's first public intrasquad scrimmage of the preseason.

Garcia, who made 6-of-9 field goals, including all three of his three point attempts and connected on 9-of-11 free throws, also grabbed 5 rebounds in 38 minutes of action.

"I just try to help my team any way I can," Garcia said. "I think we're going to be pretty good. I've said it before and I'll say it now, this is the best team we've had since I've been here and I'm very pleased with my teammates."

The Red team, which consisted of likely starters Taquan Dean, Larry O'Bannon, Ellis Myles and freshman Tello Palacios along with Garcia, shot 55.6-percent from the field and made 11-22 three pointers. They also finished 30-of-37 from the charity stripe and outrebounded the White team by five.

"What you saw today is what you see everyday," Pitino said. "The White team hangs in there in every drill with the Red team and then the Red team pulls away. It's rare that the White team will win and that's primarily because Francisco Garcia is the differnce maker on both teams."

The White team, which started freshmen Lorrenzo Wade and Brian Johnson and Otis George, Brandon Jenkins and Chris Current, were competitive the entire game. Transfer David Padgett, who will sit out this season, also played well for the White's, posting 16 points and 7 rebounds and showed he's capable of being an excellent post passer, as evidenced by his three assists.

"We got a little tired in the second half primarily because of splitting the teams and all the guys were playing significant minutes," Pitino said. "Offensively, they did a very good job in the first thirty minutes of play."

As is typical of preseason scrimmages, both teams combined for 39 turnovers, including 7 by Garcia and 6 by Myles. Despite the intensity of both teams, Pitino said after the scrimmage that his team needs to become better defensively.

"The only area last years team was better than this one is that we were a much better defensive team," Pitino said. "And it's not because we lost players. We just played with a different mentality because we knew we had to win with defense last year."

The scrimmage also showed the Cardinals are tremendously improved in the frontcourt. Myles (13 points, 7 rebounds) and Palacios (14 points, 4 rebounds, 1-2 three pointers) combined for 27 points and 11 rebounds for the Red, while George (24 points, 8 rebounds) and Johnson (10 points, 6 rebounds) posted 34 points and 14 boards for the White.

"We have some low post players [this year]," Pitino said. "Juan Diego is a big part of our offense and he's very skilled. He's very talented and Brian Johnson is going to be very talented, too."

"The freshmen are struggling because they can't guard anybody and they don't know the little things that the veterans know," Pitino added. "So it's going to take some time but we only have two weeks to get them ready."

George, who led the White team in both scoring and rebounding, is vastly improved this season according to Pitino.

"He's improved tramendously, especially his footwork" Pitino said of the 6'8, 225-pound senior. "He's our fireplug off the bench. He lifts everybody up and makes people better because of his intensity level."

Freshman small forward Lorrenzo Wade (9 points, 3 assists) had the play of the day when he drove baseline and threw down a crowd pleasing, one-handed tomahawk slam over fellow freshman Terrance Farley.

"The good is he has unbelievable athletic talent, the bad is that he doesn't showcase it enough and play like every second is his last second on the court," Pitino explained of Wade. "That's something we're going to have to work on with him."

Wade, who connected on 4-of-11 field goal attempts and also grabbed 2 rebounds, said he simply hoped not to embarrass himself on the dunk.

"I was just thinking that I would hopefully make it because I took off kind of far from the basket and I didn't want to embarrass myself in front of the crowd," Wade explained after the scrimmage.

Sophomore Brandon Jenkins enjoyed a steady, if not spectacular scrimamge, finishing with 17 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals while committing just three turnovers against the Red team's pressure defense. Jenkins made 6-of-11 field goals, including 1-of-3 three point attempts and played the enitre 40 minutes.

"He's much improved and a better shooter than he's been," Pitino said. "He's extremely athletic and we're excited about his improvement. He's come along way."

Red team guards Taquan Dean (19 points, 4 assists) and Larry O'Bannon (20 points, 4 rebounds) combined for 39 points and 5 assists, while connecting on 6-of-14 shots from behind the three point line.

The Cardinals will return to action Wednesday night when the take on Division-II power Kentucky Wesleyan in Freedom Hall. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 and the game will be televised live on WDRB.

NOTE

Freshman forward Juan Diego Palacios lacerated his left ring finger during the scrimmage which forced him to miss most of the second half of action.

"He lacerated his finger that he hurt last year so he'll probably be out a week," Pitino said. "And he's probably going to mis that next game that we'll play [vs. Kentucky Wesleyan].


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