Louisville goes small (again), wins big

Rick Pitino has found an answer – and a winning lineup three games into the Big East conference schedule. For the second straight game, Pitino used a three guard lineup, along with small forward Terrence Williams and center David Padgett to blow past Providence 78-63 Saturday afternoon.

Rick Pitino has found an answer – and a winning lineup three games into the Big East conference schedule. For the second straight game, Pitino used a three guard lineup, along with small forward Terrence Williams and center David Padgett to blow past Providence 78-63 Saturday afternoon.

That lineup, also consisting of guards Edgar Sosa, Jerry Smith and Brandon Jenkins used an active and stingy 2-3 zone and some outstanding perimeter shooting from the 6-6 Williams to open up a sizeable early lead on the Friars.

"I'm really proud of our guys. Obviously we played tremendous defense tonight," Pitino said. "(We) play so hard and they're getting better and getting (more) confident. (We had) a game like South Florida (where) the ball goes in and now our guys have a totally different mind set."

"(Louisville) came out and blitzed us early and that was really the game," Providence coach Tim Welsh said. "Our guys fought back hard. When you get yourself 19 down against a team that is playing with a lot more confidence (it's tough)."

Williams has been hot for the Cardinals recently and hit his first four three-point attempts against the Friars. He led Louisville with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Sosa had 20 points and five steals, while Smith finished with 14 points.

Though Louisville made just 13-of-24 free throws and got out-rebounded by a bigger Providence frontcourt 45-32, the Cardinals made up for it with their defense, forcing 26 turnovers that they converted into 39 points.


Sosa helped lead U of L
to an impressive win over
Providence. (Troy Turbeville)

How good of a job did Louisville do defensively against Providence? Consider this. The Friars came into the game averaging 80 points per game and shooting 50.5 percent from the field, second-best in the league. The Cardinals limited Providence to just 39.2 percent and 17 below their season average.

"We turned the ball over way too many times to be effective and they got their transition game going," Welsh said. "We banged the boards hard but we had 26 turnovers and you can't win on the road (playing like that).'

"They are very active," Welsh said. "They're aggressive in a 2-3 zone and trying to get deflections and steals, but they don't trap out of it, so the turnovers are unacceptable. I saw plays I haven't seen from our guys all year long. I guess maybe it was Louisville."

Louisville hit 47 percent from the floor, including 9-26 threes, while holding Providence to under 40 percent shooting, and just 5-of-18 behind the three-point line.

"With four guards, they stretch your zone," Welsh said. "They've got four guys on the floor that can shoot threes and they move the ball well

6-10 Herbert Hill led Providence with 23 points and 11 boards. Geoff McDermott also had a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds.

With the win over Providence, the Cardinals have now won back-to-back Big East games for the first time since joining the conference.

Louisville won't get to rest long with Marquette coming into Freedom Hall Monday night. The Eagles knocked off West Virginia Saturday afternoon.


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