On a team built from the inside-out, Louisville point guard Darius Perry’s role is to initiate the offense and play good defense on the perimeter. If he scores a bucket here and there, it’s a bonus.
Yet sometimes roles can change.
In Saturday’s 80-62 rout of visiting Clemson that kept the No. 6 Cardinals atop the Atlantic Coast Conference, Perry switched from bit player to leading man. His five 3-pointers and game-high 19 points keyed the Cardinals’ sixth consecutive victory.
Perry and Louisville (17-3, 8-1 ACC) aim to keep their individual and collective run going Wednesday night when they visit conference foe Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
“I thought Darius had his best game since I’ve been coaching him, not just on offense,” Cardinals coach Chris Mack said. “I think if any player sees a couple go in, they gain a lot of confidence. Love to see a guy like D.P. knock in one after the other. He’s a good shooter.”
The stats bear out Mack’s analysis. While Perry is averaging just 6.1 points, he’s converting a career-high 41.7 percent from the 3-point line, while averaging 3.4 assists. And over his last 10 games, Perry has drilled 15 of 28 from beyond the arc.
That kind of shooting is one reason why Louisville was tied at 15th in Division I at 38.7 percent of its 3-pointers heading into play Tuesday. It also has forced opponents to make a choice between respecting his shot and giving the Cardinals favorable one-on-one matchups in the post, or doubling inside and risk a 3-point attempt on the perimeter.
Clemson couldn’t stop them either way. Louisville hit nearly hit 48.1 percent from the field and 47.6 percent from distance, taking a 47-26 halftime lead and cruising from there.
Boston College (10-10, 4-5) got back to .500 on Saturday with a stout defensive effort as it stopped Virginia Tech 61-56 in Chestnut Hill, Mass. The Eagles limited the Hokies to 40.0 percent shooting while forcing 14 turnovers to snap a four-game losing streak.
“You can win a game on defense and I thought we won defensively against a good offensive team,” Boston College coach Jim Christian said, according to the Boston Herald. “To hold them to 16 points below their scoring average and force double-digit turnovers, that’s gutting it out.”
The Eagles really weren’t much better on offense, making only 43.8 percent from the field and missing 16 of 27 free throws in a performance that had the Conte Forum rims cringing. But they got a game-high 23 points and eight rebounds from forward Jairus Hamilton, who entered the day by averaging just 9.3 per game.
Hamilton, who was only 8 of 37 on 3-pointers in his previous 10 games, canned 5 of 7 against Virginia Tech. He went 7 of 11 from the field overall.
Boston College ranks 323rd in Division I in scoring at just 64.3 points per game, so it will need another big game from Hamilton in order to pull off the upset over Louisville.
–Field Level Media