Jenkins scored 13 points on his way to earning MVP honors and
Williams led the Cardinals (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today; No. 11 AP) with 16 points and eight
rebounds in a 78-63 victory over the College of Charleston to win
the tournament they host for the fourth time in as many years.
Though Dean continued to struggle, going 2-of-11 from the field,
the Cardinals (8-1) won their 11th straight game at Freedom Hall
behind the steady Jenkins and the high-flying Williams.
After the Cougars (4-4) pulled within 46-42 with 11:20 to play,
Jenkins, Williams and Andre McGee combined for 16 points in a
frantic 21-5 run that Williams capped with a steal and breakaway
"I just want to do whatever Coach wants me to, play nine
minutes or play 20 minutes," Williams said. "I'm happy with the
way I played. It's the best overall game for this team. I think we
played better defense tonight."
"They had some guys really step up for them," Charleston coach
Tom Herrion said. "They shot the ball extremely well. Inevitably,
I thought the 3-point shot beat us tonight."
Williams led the way, going 4-of-6 from 3-point range while
mixing in a handful of acrobatic drives to the basket.
"My teammates were giving me the ball and I was open, it was
just like I do in practice," Williams said. "Coach (Rick) Pitino
tells us to shoot, his exact words are 'Just bust it."
The points were nice, but Pitino said he's more pleased with his
team's defense. The Cardinals were exposed in a loss at Kentucky
last Saturday and played poorly in the second half of a win over
Middle Tennessee State on Tuesday.
"I think we could be a good offensive team, but we just have to
be a good defensive team, that's how you win on the road," Pitino
said. "It's going to take some time. We're a work in progress, but
I think we're making headway in that area."
For the better part of two seasons Jenkins has considered
himself the tone-setter on defense. Now it seems his offense is
catching up. One night after posting a career-high 20 points, he
followed it with 33 efficient minutes, going 6-of-10 from the field
and handing out four assists.
"It comes with practice," Jenkins said. "I just take the ball
to the middle of the floor. Coach says to take it to the E in the
Big East sign (in the lane) or I can make the extra pass. Coach
says, 'Think score first and the pass will come."
The Cardinals began the game with the kind of sustained
defensive intensity Pitino has been pleading for the last two
weeks. Louisville contested shots, rebounded and ran the floor
while building a 26-11 lead.
When the Louisville slowed down to catch its breath, Charleston
caught up. Renardo Dickerson hit a jumper to end an 8-minute field
goal drought and start a 12-3 run by the Cougars, who drew within
29-23 with 2:49 to go in the half.
Dean, just 8-of-27 from the field over his last two games, tried
to put the Cardinals back in control before halftime, but nothing
worked. During one possession late in the half he airballed a
3-pointer and had another shot blocked.
His night didn't get any better in the second half. Dean
collided with center David Padgett while going for a rebound and
was on the floor for a minute before slowly pulling himself up. He
stayed in the game, but labored the rest of the way.
"He was a little banged up tonight and I think he's just
pressing a little bit because he's banged up," Pitino said.
"He'll be fine. He's just got to use his offense to get up his