louisville, which thrives on speed, directed much of its postgame conversation to the slow pace at which today's NCAA semifinal game was played--terribly slow, to the Cardinals' way of thinking.
"We just didn't run enough," said Rodney McCray, who scored eight points in the 50-46 loss to Georgetown. "The score was too low."
"We're a team of emotion," Jerry Eaves said. "We like to get hyped, pumped up by a couple of fast-break baskets. But Georgetown kept things quiet, sort of passive. They kept passing the ball around, and first thing you know, we're in a tug-of-war. That's not our style of basketball. But it's all attributable to good team defense on their part."
The Cardinals averaged 72 points per game this season, probably half that figure coming in transition play. In the Superdome today, no way.
"I only remember two or three fast-break layups the entire game," Eaves said. "The tempo was theirs from the beginning. We never could get that run going."
Asked why they never got into their speed game, most of the Louisville players thought Georgetown's defense, with 7-foot Patrick Ewing intimidating them inside, just would not allow room for uncontested layups and pull-up jumpers.
"Even though his stats aren't that overwhelming, Patrick Ewing was the factor," forward Derek Smith said. "We're 6-6, 6-7, 6-8 across the front line. The big boy can reach across the lane and block one shot after another, first one direction and then the other. You got to give the big boy his respect, because he can reject you."
Officially, Ewing blocked only one shot. In the minds of the Cardinals, he blocked four or five and altered twice that many.
"We got intimidated early," said 6-8 center/forward Wiley Brown, "and started rushing our shots to get them up before Ewing got there. He's still a freshman . . . has a lot of things to improve on, offensively. But he can intimidate you pretty good on defense."
Georgetown's Gene Smith said he thought that by the end of the game, Louisville may not have been capable of running many fast breaks.
"When you press a team for 40 minutes, like we did today," Smith said, "they're bound to slow down somewhat. They nullified us, too, by pressing on defense.
"But if you play the good defense consistently, the offense comes--whether it's fast breaks or the half-court game. As far as we're concerned," Smith said, smiling, "Louisville ran too much."