On a day when Peyton Siva, Chane Behanan, and Wayne Blackshear combined to go 2-of-21 from the floor, including 1-of-14 from three-point range, Louisville needed another scorer Saturday at the Carrier Dome. The answer ended up being a 6-6 transfer from George Mason, junior Luke Hancock.
Hancock was 4-of-5 from three-point range off the bench for the Cardinals for 12 points, including two big three-pointers down the stretch as Louisville pulled away for a 58-53 victory Saturday in Syracuse, N.Y.
There has been no disagreement that Louisville’s offense can be stagnant at times this year. Saturday was no show of offensive firepower either. In the Big East tournament or NCAA tournament, a 36 percent shooting night could mean the difference between getting knocked out or advancing.
Much of that falls on the shoulders of Siva, whose improved play down the stretch last season was one of the main reasons the Cardinals were able to make a run to the Final Four.
There have been moments where he has shined, including 14 points and seven assists in a win over then-No. 25 Marquette. But he was also 1-of-6 from the floor and fouled out in Louisville’s five-overtime loss to Notre Dame and, added to Saturday’s performance, there should be at least some room for concern.
Which highlights the key word: consistency. With every game being an elimination game in the postseason, any one night when Siva struggles puts Louisville at an inherent disadvantage. When he is not either scoring or creating, we see the struggles ripple outward to Behanan, Blackshear, and others.
In a worst-case scenario, that could ultimately mean an early exit in March.