Cards Fire Blanks Once More

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski embraces Louisville counterpart Rick Pitino before Saturday's encounter between the Blue Devils and the Cardinals.

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski embraces Louisville counterpart Rick Pitino before Saturday’s encounter between the Blue Devils and the Cardinals.

Duke capitalized on a woeful shooting display from Louisville to surge past the Cardinals 63-52 at the KFC Yum! Center on Saturday, with forward Amile Jefferson and standout center Jahlil Okafor notching 19 and 18 points respectively.

For Louisville it was another game to forget offensively as they closed out the game 18-61 (29%) from the field, a percentage that sunk as low as 15% towards the end of the first half and that hung around the low 20s for the vast majority of the second.

While the Cardinals’ defense showed once more why it’s unquestionably one of the best in the country, it’s on offense and especially shots from long range that are of most concern to head coach Rick Pitino.

The low point was the Cardinals’ inability to get a point for over 10 mins in the first half, while finishing the game 4-25 from outside the line.

“We’re not as good as the team of the last three years because we’re not a great shooting team,” lamented Pitino in the post game conference. “To be a great shooting team you need three great guards and you need paint touches.”

One silver lining of the game was junior forward Montrezl Harrell who notched yet another double-double for his season, bagging 10-points and 14 rebounds, 11 of which came on defense.

“I thought Montrezl played well tonight,” added Pitino. “There were a lot of players who did not play well, but I thought he had a good game.”

One other rare upside on Saturday was the performance of sophomore guard Terry Rozier who bagged 17 points, while shooting 3-7 from outside the paint.

The defeat meant Louisville slid to their third defeat of the season, while Duke ended a two game losing streak that had come at the hands of two unranked opponents.

As for the rest of the season, Pitino thinks that when it comes to playing top teams, it’s going to remain a tough season.

“Duke played an excellent game. And as for the rest of the season we’re going to have a lot of bumps in the road.”

Photos by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | The Voice-Tribune