O'Bannon shows he's no longer second fiddle

University of Louisville public address announcer Sean Moth sounded like a broken record Wednesday night with his repeated proclamation's of "Three OOOOOO'Bannon" during No. 12 Louisville's 99-52 blowout over Tom Crean's depleted Marquette squad as senior guard Larry O'Bannon posted a career-high 30 points, making 6-of-9 three-pointers.

University of Louisville public address announcer Sean Moth sounded like a broken record Wednesday night with his repeated proclamation's of "Three OOOOOO'Bannon" during No. 12 Louisville's 99-52 blowout over Tom Crean's depleted Marquette squad as senior guard Larry O'Bannon posted a career-high 30 points, making 6-of-9 three-pointers.

To say that O'Bannon, a 6 foot 4 senior from Louisville Male, had the best game of his career - perhaps even his life - against the Golden Eagles would be an understatement. On this night, he was simply sensational.

"It seemed like everything I shot was going in," O'Bannon said. "I was just feeling it. I was looking for my shot and it was going in. What more can you ask for?"

And this type of game - and the recognition that comes with it - has been a long time coming for O'Bannon.

He's been a key contributor for the Cardinals the past few seasons but has often been overshadowed by guys like Francisco Garcia and Taquan Dean. His coach, Rick Pitino, even went so far as to critize O'Bannon's on-court personality and his passivity on it. But all that's in the past now.

"He's a hometown kid, he works hard and he deserves it," backcourt-mate Taquan Dean said.

Now, more mature and focused on the court, O'Bannon is enjoying his finest season at U of L. He entered the Marquette game averaging 14.8 points - second on the team behind Garcia - and has been, perhaps, Louisville's most consisent performer this season.

"Larry O'Bannon had a special night tonight and I'm really pleased for him," said Pitino. "He's the kind of kid that you envision this program being about. He's a great person, a player who improves and works hard each year and he's a good student. He exemplifies everything we're trying to build with our program."

Besides setting a career-high point total against Marquette, O'Bannon seemingly did everything else for his team. He pulled down five boards against the physcial Eagles, found time to hand out seven assists and made two steals on defense to boot.

But it was O'Bannon's shooting - 6-of-9 three-pointers, 9-of-13 overall - that impressed Marquette coach Tom Crean the most.

"Larry O'Bannon is a fantastic shooter - best in the league," said Crean. "He has bought into everything the Louisville program stands for and now he is being rewarded."

In many ways, it was a dream come true for O'Bannon, a performance he'll not soon forget. And like most fairy tales, O'Bannon exited to a chorus of cheers and fans chanting, appropriately, "Lar-ee, Lar-ee."

"You can't beat that - 20,000 people yelling for you. You can't even dream of that," O'Bannon said. "I didn't want to crack a smile, but I was sunshine on the inside."


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