In U of L basketball's second intrasquad scrimmage of the year, Francisco Garcia's Red Team defeated Taquan Dean and the White team 80-74 Saturday morning in Cardinal Arena. Garcia led all scorers with 24 points while also collecting 10 rebounds while Dean led the White with 21 points.
Louisville coach Rick Pitino told the media Friday he was planning to split his players into more even teams for this scrimmage than the first scrimmage two weeks ago. The Red Team was comprised of expected starters Ellis Myles at center, Tello Palacios at power forward, Garcia at small forward and Larry O'Bannon at shooting guard along with point guard Brad Gianiny and center Terrance Farley. The White team was led by starter Taquan Dean at shooting guard and future starter David Padgett at center with Lorrenzo Wade at small forward, Otis George at power forward, Brandon Jenkins at point guard and Perrin Johnson as back-up power forward.
The White team struggled in the first half, giving up 14 turnovers and attempting just 23 shots from the field (compared to the Red's 38). Despite frequent turnovers at the guard spots, Padgett's 13 first half points kept the White team competitive, down only 42-37 at the half.
At halftime, Pitino switched the teams for a five minute blitz scrimmage to showcase his newest creation, the Kamikaze Kids. Also referred to as the "Red Squad", point guard Brad Gianiny, shooting guard Brandon Jenkins, small forward Larry O'Bannon, power forward Perrin Johnson and center Otis George, pushed the starting five with full-court pressing, in-your-face defense and a fast-break style that Pitino hopes will frustrate and confuse opponents. If Garcia's reaction during the halftime scrimmage is any indication, the Kamikaze Kids are adept at accomplishing their goals. Garcia was called for two quick fouls, had a turnover and substituted himself after another called foul just two minutes into the scrimmage.
"They always do (frustrate me). They are fast, man," Garcia explained. "They work so hard on the press. They are going to be pretty good. They are going to give us a lot of points and get the other team tired."
As for the score? The Kamikaze Kids outscored "The Softies" (as Pitino lovingly called Garcia, Padgett, Wade and Dean) 24-10.
Despite not having a halftime break, the U of L players quickly switched their reversible jerseys back to the first half configuration and started another 20 minute period. The White team immediately began chipping away at the Red's lead behind 11 points from Dean. Tied at 58, Garcia began to take over. After 16 second half points, six rebounds and four blocks, Garcia's Red team secured the win 80-74 in the closing minutes.
"I think (Garcia was pressing himself), but I think he's the reason they won," Pitino said. "He had 24 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks, and five steals. Did he try too much? Yes, but I think if he didn't try to do too much, they would have lost the game."
For the game, both teams shot better than 40 percent from behind-the-arc with the Red hitting 5-of-12 and the White connecting on 7-of-17. Seven players finished in double-figure scoring with four on the Red- Garcia-24, Palacios- 18, Myles- 18, O'Bannon- 15; and three for the White- Dean-21, Padgett- 15 and Wade- 15.
"Everybody knows we've got a good offensive team because we pass the ball so well, so we've just got to work on our defense. I feel pretty good, my body feels good out there," said Garcia. "I've just got to keep working with my teammates to get better communication on the floor."
Although the scrimmage was officiated, players weren't fouled out after five fouls. Pitino said after the game that was for the best considering seven players finished with four or more fouls led by George, Padgett and O'Bannon with six a piece.
"Ellis and Otis would not have played if we weren't allowing six fouls," Pitino said with a laugh. "They both would have fouled out. It was an okay scrimmage; it wasn't great. We'll just break down the film tonight and the guys will look it over and see where we're making our mistakes."
Louisville returns to action next Saturday thousands of miles from Cardinal Arena. Pitino added Brigham Young University at Hawaii to its men's basketball schedule for Nov. 20, the Cardinals first game of the 2004-05 season. The event will tip off at 5:30 p.m. EST (12:30 p.m. Hawaii time).
Stay logged on to CardinalSports.com for full stats and more notes from Saturday's scrimmage.