Chane Behanan showed why he was such a prized recruit Saturday. Behanan posted a career high 23 points along with 11 rebounds. Many of his points coming from arena rocking dunks.
With Behanan’s performance the Cardinals extended their winning streak to four and moved to fifth place in the Big East.
However, the win was marred by an ankle injury to Louisville big man Gorgui Dieng. Dieng went down early in the second half, but after a few minutes re-entered the match with a taped-up ankle. Dieng continued to perform despite limping up and down the court. The sophomore put up a career high seven blocks, shutting down Rutgers’ offense in the paint.
Rutgers coach Mike Rice grew frustrated early in the game, and was ejected for arguing with the officials late in the first half. Yet, without their head coach, Rutgers didn’t roll over.
The Scarlet Knights relied on sharpshooters to stick around the Cardinals. Rutgers shot 40% from behind the arc, and continually used the long ball to claw back into the game.
Rutgers freshman Eli Carter put up 24 points on the night, and provided a scare for the Scarlet Knights when he went down with a knee injury shortly after Dieng’s return. However, he also persevered and came back onto the court quickly establishing himself as another Big East youngster to watch.
Despite Carter and the pesky Knights, the Cardinals showed flashes of a well oiled machine, performing well in plenty of key areas. Louisville out rebounded Rutgers by 18, and scored 20 points off of turnovers.
The Cardinals now have a quick turnaround as Connecticut will come to the KFC Yum! Center Monday night. Although the Huskies have underachieved this season, they remain one of the most talented teams in the Big East.
Coach Rick Pitino called Gorgui Dieng “doubtful” for the big matchup, and did confirm that freshman Zach Price would get the start if Dieng was unable to play.
Even if Dieng doesn’t start. Judging by his insistence on playing through the pain Saturday, one has to imagine that he will do anything in his power to make an impact Monday night.
One More Thing
I can’t let the opportunity pass by without giving a Super Bowl XLVI Prediction.
How could I pick against my beloved New York Football Giants. Expect it to be a shootout but the Giants’ pass rush will make a bigger impact than the porous Patriots’ secondary.
New York Giants, 42, New England Patriots Patriots 31