Louisville avoids an NCAA tournament stumble vs. Davidson

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The Louisville train rolls on, into the Round of 32.

After winning four games in four days to capture the Big East tournament title, the Cardinals contained the typically potent Davidson offense, getting the victory, 69-62, on Thursday afternoon in Portland, Ore.

Late-season success continued for guard Peyton Siva, following up his MVP performance in the Big East tournament with 17 points and six assists against Davidson.

His ability to dribble penetrate was the catalyst for Louisville, and helped Chane Behanan to 14 points.

Center Gorgui Dieng found himself in early foul trouble again for Louisville, but the Cardinals were able to keep the defensive pressure on and hold Davidson to 35% shooting from the floor.

Jake Cohen led the way for the Wildcats with 24 points on 9-for-18 shooting.

Davidson was hurt by poor shooting on the perimeter, which would have helped to loosen the grip of Louisville’s pressure defense. By shooting 4-for-19 from 3-point range, the Wildcats were never able to hit their stride on the offensive end.

Louisville’s win escapes a pesky mid-major in their first game, something they couldn’t do last year. After losing to Morehead State in the Round of 64 in 2011, this win over Davidson in 2012 moves them on to meet New Mexico in the Round of 32.

Shooting was still a problem offensively for the Cardinals, and a matchup with New Mexico in the next round, a strong defensive team, could make for an interesting matchup.

Louisville shot 40% from the floor against Davidson but, as the tournament progresses, the more emphasis on Peyton Siva, the better.

His ability to spread the floor and score for himself will be important to spur the Cardinal offense in the next round.

They play New Mexico on Saturday.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_