Johnson looks to continue strong play

Rick Pitino promised to take it easy on his team during Tuesday's practice, and that news had to be music to Brian Johnson's ears.

Rick Pitino promised to take it easy on his team during Tuesday's practice, and that news had to be music to Brian Johnson's ears.

Johnson 6-9 redshirt freshman who's had three knee surgeries in the past two years, played a season-high 24 minutes Monday night in the Cardinals 74-68 win over Clemson in the second round of the NIT. With just one day between their win over the Tigers and tonight's quarterfinal game against Missouri State, Johnson welcomed Tuesday's lighter than usual practice session.

"I feel alright" Johnson said Tuesday. "I'm a little sore, but I'll be alright. As far as my knee goes it's getting better."

Despite a season-best 13 point, 13 rebound effort against Clemson, Johnson admitted that he's still not back to his former self on the court.

"I'm not able to do what I used to do," Johnson said. "I can't really play defense like I want to. It's pretty tough to get down into defensive position."

After hammering down three dunks against a tough physical Clemson squad, Johnson seems to be elevating off the floor much better than he did earlier in the season.

"My jumping has gotten a whole better," said Johnson.

Johnson has also been impressive by the more than 26,000 Louisville fans who have shown up for the Cardinals first two NIT games.

"I've been surprised that this many people have shown up for the NIT," Johnson said. "The fans have shown us a lot of support."


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