Louisville’s Dieng key in Cardinals’ Sweet 16 win
PHOENIX — Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng didn’t score a point in the
second half, but he had his fingerprints all over Rick Pitino’s latest
NCAA Regional semifinal win.
More accurately, he had his entire palm print on it.
The 6-foot-11 sophomore from Senegal tied a career-high with 7
blocked shots, including 5 in the second half as Louisville shut
Michigan State 57-44 to advance to the West Regional Final
against the winner of the Florida-Marquette semi.
“He was very disruptive coming in,” Michigan State senior
Draymond Green said. “We knew he averaged three and a half
blocks a game, and we’re not going to back down from anyone.
“He pulled off some great blocked shots, and that’s what he does,
that’s his strength.”
Dieng’s fourth block of the night was probably the most pivotal.
Leading by 6 with under 14 minutes to go, Dieng blocked a layup
attempt by Green which fueled a transition alley-oop dunk by
Peyton Siva. Jared Swopshire then stole the inbounds pass and was
fouled before sinking a pair of free throws, stretching the Cardinals’
lead to 10.
Dieng did make a mark on offense as well, knocking down his first
career three-pointer in the first half.
“I was just wide open and I took the shot,” Dieng said. “I was wide
open and I took it and it went in.”
After Dieng made the shot, he looked over at Pitino on the
Louisville bench, and both had smiles from ear-to-ear.
“I tell all the guys: you’re open, shoot it,” Pitino said. “We’re not the
best offensive shooting team, but we shot 52 percent in the second
half against a great team.”