Pittsburgh v Louisville

Louisville’s win conceals more poor late-game execution

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Louisville was able to snap their three-game losing streak on Monday night, knocking off Pitt 64-61 in the Yum! Center to move to 5-3 in the Big East and stay two games behind Marquette and Syracuse atop the league standings.

There’s no question it was a big win for the Cardinals, because Pitt is a good basketball team. Whether it comes at home or on the road, beating the Panthers is always going to be a good win, especially when it snaps the first three-game losing skid that started when a team was ranked No. 1 in the country since 1989.

But that doesn’t mean that the win should put to bed all the concerns that we had about the No. 12 Cardinals heading into Monday night.

The three losses that the Cardinals suffered were all close losses. Two of them — Syracuse and Georgetown — came down to the final possession. The loss to Villanova was pushed to nine points by free throw shooting in the final minute. But all three losses can be pinpointed on one thing: offensive execution late in games. Against Syracuse, Peyton Siva turned the ball over twice in the final 30 seconds — once with Louisville up a point, which led to a dunk at the other end, and the second time with Louisville down a point. Against Villanova, there were three straight passes from Siva to his big men that weren’t handled well. Against Georgetown, the Cardinals didn’t score from the field in the final four minutes, capped off by two awful, contested pull-up jumpers in the final minute — one from Siva and one from Russ Smith.

The Cardinals caught a break against Pitt.

The Panthers, who aren’t exactly a great free throw shooting team, were 3-12 from the stripe for the game. that played a big role in Louisville taking a 58-52 lead into the final two minutes.

But the Cardinals had two dreadful offensive possessions when trying to ice the win. On the first, Siva dribbled around, aimlessly trying to drive to the basket, before wasting too much time off the shot clock and forcing Gorgui Dieng into an illegal screen by trying to from off of a pick before he was set. After Lamar Patterson hit a three to cut the lead to 58-55, Smith dribbled out the shot clock before trying to split the defenders on a ball-screen. He lost control of the ball and was eventually forced to try and take a jump shot over seven-footer Steven Adams. It was blocked.

And Pitt had the ball back with a chance to tie.

Fortunately for Louisville, their defense held down the stretch thanks to the cushion that Pitt’s shoddy free throw shooting gave them.

They snapped their three-game losing streak.

But I would refrain from calling the win confidence-inspiring.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady improving after being hospitalized

James Woodard, Anton Grady, Ron Baker
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Wichita State senior forward Anton Grady received some positive news on Saturday as a neurosurgeon reviewed MRI results, which are negative for spinal cord trauma.

According to a release from Wichita State, doctors believed Grady suffered a spinal cord concussion during a collision on Friday after he was taken off the floor in a stretcher and taken to a hospital in an ambulance. CT and MRI scans on Friday both turned up negative, but the news of Saturday’s results are an even more encouraging sign for Grady.

The injury for Grady occurred during a Friday loss to Alabama during the AdvoCare Invitational as the senior’s condition has improved since the collision. Grady will receive physical therapy over the next few days and doctors will check his progress before he is released from the hospital.

Grady has been alert and responsive to questions and had feeling in his extremities on Friday, but the use of his arms and legs was limited. By Saturday morning, Grady had improved the use of his extremities.

The 6-foot-8 Grady has averaged 9 points and 6 rebounds per game this season in his first season with the Shockers. The Cleveland State transfer is shooting 39 percent from the field.

Colorado’s Tory Miller reprimanded by Pac-12 after biting opponent

Dusan Ristic, Tory Miller
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Colorado sophomore forward Tory Miller has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 and he also apologized for biting Air Force’s Hayden Graham earlier this week.

During Colorado’s win over Air Force on Wednesday, Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 Dead Ball Technical Foul and ejected with 12:25 left in the second half after biting Graham during a loose ball.

In a release from the Pac-12, they announced reprimanding Miller, but he will not be suspended.

“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct and Sportsman-ship,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the release. “Regardless of Mr. Miller’s frustration and emotion, such behavior is unacceptable and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”

Miller also released his apology in the same release.

“I would like to apologize for my actions during the Air Force game. I would like to apologize to Hayden Graham, Air Force, my teammates and fans. It was a heat of the moment thing. I’m an emotional player, but I let my emotions get the best of me. I will use this as a learning experience and focus on helping my teammates and respecting my opponents for the rest of the season and beyond,” Miller said.

For Miller to not be suspended for this is good news for him and Colorado since he won’t miss any additional action, but did the Pac-12 make the right decision on this?