By Ken Cross
The Louisville Cardinals are in a very winnable area of their schedule as they proved that last night by taking a 77-54 win over Georgia Tech with a strong defensive effort inside of the 2-3 zone which limited the Yellow Jackets to only 36.8 percent from the floor.
“Obviously, we are happy to win and get back on track, most importantly,” said Louisville interim-head coach David Padgett, “We defended much better tonight, our zone was good. One kid obviously hurt us, it was Okogie, but he’s a great player, he shot the ball well.”
Josh Okogie was on point all evening and is a tough matchup for almost anyone. He finished with 25 points and 10 boards in 39 minutes. Georgia Tech lacks depth, so when the zone controlled the Yellow Jackets’ movement on the perimeter, they started to turn the ball over which led to transition for the Cardinals. Louisville scored 21 points on 20 Georgia Tech turnovers.
“We did a better job at keeping the ball out of the lane, we didn’t foul as much, they only went to the free throw line 10 times,” said Padgett, “That was something we’ve been emphasizing the last couple of days.”
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Georgia Tech scored only 16 points in the first half as it made only 6-of-26 baskets. When the Cardinals weren’t in transition off those turnovers, they set up and ran strong offense as Quentin Snider had all seven of his assists in that first 20 minutes.
“Offensively, in the first half especially, we shared the ball very well which was really good to see,” noted Padgett, “Q with seven assists on one turnover is awesome. Good team win, we are happy to get back on track, and now we go back on the road and try to get another win.”
The win broke a three-game losing streak which saw the Cardinals lose winnable games to Virginia, Florida State, and Syracuse. At 17-8 and 6-5 in the ACC, Padgett sees Pitt and a North Carolina team that is struggling defensively this week. These are two really good opportunities for Louisville to get back on track and improve their seeding potential in the NCAA Tournament.
“Tonight the most important thing was us defending and letting our defense get us a win and we did that,” said Padgett, “Now, we got off the slide, we lost three in a row, and are now got back on the winning track. With that being said, we just have to get ready for Pittsburgh.”