LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Louisville is looking to develop some take-charge guys early this season, and several candidates are emerging.
Freshman forward V.J. King scored 17 points and Deng Adel added 16, including eight during Louisville’s 10-0 run to close the first half, to help the 12th-ranked Cardinals pull away from William & Mary for a 91-58 victory Monday night.
Louisville (2-0) initially struggled against the Tribe’s up-tempo style, going scoreless for 3:06 and allowing William & Mary to pull to 34-31 with 2:13 remaining in the first half. Adel took charge over the final 1:31 with five free throws and a 3-pointer just before the break during the spurt that gave the Cardinals some space.
“Coach (Rick Pitino) kept telling me to keep shooting it because once you get out of the slump, the shots are going to fall,” said Adel, who went 4 of 9 from the field and made all seven free throws after scoring just six points in Louisville’s opener.
“Once you see the ball go in the basket, it helps your confidence.”
Louisville then outscored William & Mary 10-2 over the first 4 1/2 minutes of the second half to open a 54-33 lead, and held the Tribe without a basket for nearly 6 minutes.
William & Mary coach Tony Shaver pointed to Louisville’s late first-half run as the turning point for his team.
“Our execution those last 2 minutes of the half was terrible and we paid the price for that,” Shaver said. “We hadn’t played that well the first 18 minutes and it’s a three-point game, so you have to feel good about that. But that spurt there really changed the complexion of the game.”
King helped the Cardinals cruise home by hitting a couple of 3-pointers down the stretch.
“If we just all play together and find each other, we all get easy shots and open shots like we did tonight,” said King, who also had just six points on Friday. “All of us can score, so (opponents) have to pick and choose who they have to defend.”
Quentin Snider and Jaylen Johnson, who scored a team-high 19 points in Louisville’s opener, each added 13 for the Cardinals, who held William & Mary (1-1) to 23 percent shooting in the second half and 31 percent overall. Mangok Mathiang had 10 rebounds and Johnson nine as the Cardinals topped the Tribe 49-42 on the boards.
“We played terrific defense tonight,” Pitino said. “We did a really good job of putting the pressure on and not fouling.”
Omar Prewitt and Nathan Knight had 14 points apiece for the Tribe, who shot 6 of 29 from 3-point range in losing their first meeting with Louisville in 64 years.
THE BIG PICTURE
William & Mary: One game after making a school-record 22 steals against Bridgewater, the Tribe managed just two against Louisville. More importantly, they committed 16 turnovers that led to 22 points.
Louisville: The Cardinals shot 46 percent and saw some bright spots in their perimeter shooting. They went 6 of 12 from beyond the arc in the second half after going 4 of 16 in the first 20 minutes, which followed a 3-of-15 showing in the opener.
Mathiang, playing his second game since December because of a foot injury, had five of Louisville’s 11 blocks to match a career high set Feb. 14, 2015, against North Carolina State. Cardinals guard Donovan Mitchell had four blocks.
William & Mary had two players from Kentucky in guard/forward and team captain Prewitt and forward Jack Whitman. Their returns began with promise before Louisville took over and left them with 17 combined points. “We just didn’t execute, and that was probably more us than them,” Prewitt said. “I wanted to come out and play well with a lot of family here, and I knew a lot of Louisville players. It was exciting to play here.”
Thursday’s home game against Long Beach State might have a bigger impact on Louisville’s ranking next week.
William & Mary: Hosts Presbyterian on Saturday.
Louisville: Hosts Long Beach State on Thursday. The Cardinals lead the series 2-0, with their most recent win over the 49ers coming on Dec. 30, 2014 (63-48).
The AP’s College Basketball page: collegebasketball.ap.org