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El Ellis Nearly Completes Louisville's Rally Attempt vs. Michigan State

Trailing by as much as 20, the JUCO transfer guard went off in the second half to help give the Cardinals a chance in their loss to the Spartans.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - In the second half of Louisville's game at Michigan State, things didn't look good. The Cardinals had a brief spark of life right out of halftime, but then the Spartans responded with authority, firing off a 24-6 run to lead by as much as 20 with 7:54 left in the game.

It looked like Michigan State was about to cruise comfortably to a blowout win at the Breslin Center. But, El Ellis had other ideas.

After going just 2-5 for four points up to that point - all coming in the first half - the JUCO transfer guard exploded down the stretch. In the final eight minutes, Ellis was responsible for 18 of Louisville's 21 points.

In just a short amount of time, Louisville went from staring a blowout loss right in the face, to trailing by just eight with 1:26 left in the game. The rally eventually fell short, with the Cardinals falling 73-64 in their first true road game of the season, but it certainly wasn't due to Ellis' efforts.

"I just wanted to win. I'll do anything that the team needs for us to win," he said after the game. "It doesn't matter if I'm scoring, defensively, trying to get guys involved. Whatever it is to help us win, that's what I'm gonna do at the end of the day."

On this night, it was his scoring that helped put Louisville in a position to potentially steal a win in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. He went 8-12 from the field, 4-7 on three-point attempts, and 2-2 at the free throw line to finish with a game-high 22 points.

In the second half, he was nearly automatic, shooting 6-7 and 4-5 on threes. Not only did he have a stretch where he made four-consecutive threes, but he also attacked the lane with a Russ Smith-esque nature.

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The latter part hardly comes as a surprise. Ranging from the preseason exhibition games to the regular season, the combo guard has demonstrated on occasion incredible athleticism and body control when driving, finishing layups with in an almost circus-like form.

He might not be the team's most prolific scorer, averaging 7.0 points per game while coming off the bench in all seven games, one thing he has shown is that he can do things that no other guard on Louisville's roster can. The next step for him, according to head coach Chris Mack, is to be much more consistent and complete.

"It's a little bit looser feeling when you're down 17 points, getting it in there, and sort of making things happen," Mack said. He's got a burst to him, he can score it, hopefully this game gives him confidence. But we need him when he gets in the lane, and nothing's there, not to charge over guys and to be stronger with the ball - and he will."

(Photo of Max Christie, El Ellis: Nick King - Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK)

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