UNCASVILLE, Conn. —
“They weren’t good fouls, especially that fifth one” said Pitino. “You give it to people open or you go around them, you don’t try to pull a Michael Jorden at that point.”
Harrell was coming off the first double-double of his career, a 14 point, 12 rebound effort in a 71-57 victory over Fairfield in the semifinals.
The 6-foot-8 sophomore from Tarboro North Carolina grew up idolizing Ty Lawson and Tyler Hansbrough, and was looking forward to playing against the Tar Heels, who did not heavily recruit him.
“I’m a local kid from that area and they didn’t offer me,” he said. “You can’t dwell on things like that. You’ve got to move on.
The teams combined for 50 fouls and that affected Louisville’s press, forcing the Cardinals to play further off their men.
North Carolina also thwarted Louisville’s transition game, getting several easy baskets by keeping a big man back near half court.
“When I got my first outlet pass I got the sense they weren’t paying attention to it,” Meeks said.
Paige hit 9 of his 12 shots from the floor and was 11 of 11 from the foul line.
“I’m trying to stay in attack mode the entire time,” he said. “That makes our team harder to guard and frees up the big guys. I’m one of the leaders on this team so I feel the need to provide some outside scoring. I’m the only one who attempts 3-pointers pretty much.”
But it was the Russ Smith show early, as he had 22 points in the first half.
He and Jones were a combined 10 of 19 from the floor before intermission, while the rest of the Cardinals hit just three of 13 shots.
Both teams started hot, making a combined 10 of the first 12 shots taken from the floor. A pair of 3-pointers from Smith and one from Jones helped Louisville to an early 19-10 lead.