After falling behind 17-7 early, Morehead rode the hot shooting of Maze Stallworth to get back into the game, and went to the break trailing only 35-33.
But, in the end the Cards were just too much for the Eagles. When Louisville is playing well, they play with a certain tenacity on defense. In the second half Donnie Tyndall’s Morehead State squad saw that tenacity and the Cards just wore them down.
The Eagles only play six guys and with Louisville bringing it constantly, you figured eventually that they would run out of gas. They did, but they never quit trying. Leon Buchanan showed why he dominated the low block in the OVC all year by finishing with 17 and Kenneth Faried had another double-double.
But, it wasn’t enough.
It was a valiant effort for the Eagles and the state of Kentucky should be very proud of this club. The Morehead coaching staff was extremely proud of their players and you could see emotions running high as they took the starters out.
Like I mentioned earlier today, it is unfortunate that Morehead was forced to play Louisville in the first round. I know for a fact that there were many Louisville fans that would have loved to be able to cheer for Morehead in the first round. But, the committee made that impossible.
After jumping out to the early lead, the Cardinals did not play with the energy that we are accustomed to seeing for the final ten minutes of the half. They allowed Morehead to get buckets underneath and consistently committed unforced turnovers to allow the Eagles back into the game.
The second half was a different story. When they didn’t turn the ball over the Cardinals usually scored so when they started to protect the ball better and locked down on the other end, you knew it was only a matter of time before they pulled away.
Samardo Samuels was extremely active for the Cards and played with a bounce in his step the entire game. It was as if he took some notes from Kenneth Faried before the game. He finished with 15 points and seven rebounds.
Terrence Williams and Earl Clark and also finished in double figures with 13 and 12 respectively. Williams also had nine rebounds on the game.
Overall, Louisville shot 58-percent from the field and 42-percent from deep and the Eagles just did not have the offensive firepower to keep up with the Cards.
Rick Pitino and the Cards now look to face a scrappy Sienna team on Sunday that Ohio State simply could not put away. The Saints like to get up and down the court so it could be an interesting matchup but I don’t see them getting the easy buckets against Louisville’s defense that they got against the Buckeyes.
My boy, Bobby E, will be here later with a full preview for the game.