JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Quick halftime thoughts from the final game of the day here at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, where No. 8 seed Cal leads No. 9 Louisville 41-30:
The start of the game was delayed by 20 minutes as arena workers fixed a malfunctioning clock above one of the baskets. The teams retreated to the locker room while the work was performed, and Louisville might as well not have even come out for the first six minutes of the game.
Cal scored the first 12 points and held a bloated 22-4 lead after an intentional foul on Terrence Jennings resulted in a five-point trip. The start resembled the blowout runs Rick Pitino's old Kentucky teams used to put on tournament opponents, but the other way around. Patrick Christopher hit three 3-pointers early and finished the half with 13 points
The Cardinals, though, didn't fold. They used a 12-0 run midway through the half to get back in it as the Bears started to get sloppy with the ball. The lead shrank to six points late in the half, but Jerome Randle's 35-foot buzzer-beater put Cal back on top by 11 points and could be a huge momentum changer.
Rick Pitino rolled the dice and let point guard Edgar Sosa play with two fouls in the first half. Sosa picked up his third foul on a charge with a little more than five minutes to go. Pitino has shown little faith in freshman Peyton Siva, so the point guard situation is one to watch in the second half.
Louisville's press didn't seem to bother Cal much as the Bears used their quickness to break it several times for easy scores. But Mike Montgomery's team isn't very deep with the suspension of starting forward Omondi Amoke, and all five starters played at least 17 minutes in the first half. Can they avoid fatigue and hang on to this lead?