Men’s basketball wins first ever home ACC game, defeats Clemson 58-52

By on January 8, 2015

By Noah Allison–

In their first home game in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinal’s defeated the Clemson Tigers 58-52. The fifth ranked Cardinals improve to 14-1, 2-0 in conference while the Tigers fall to 8-6, 0-2 in conference.

Heading into halftime trailing 22-18, Louisville capitalized off of energy and defense and opened the second half on a 17-0 run that eventually proved to grand a lead for Clemson to overcome.

“I think the message I tried to give the team at halftime was, `guys, the championship team understood styles, and you don’t,’” head coach Rick Pitino said. “Clemson has been one or two in the last five years in holding their opponents to 61-point-something points per game, so we’ve got to be a much better defensive team, or they’re going to control the pace of the game.”

For the first half it seemed Clemson did control the pace. Louisville was held to 22 percent shooting and the situation was worsened when junior power forward Montrezl Harrell picked up two early fouls that had him sit out the last 15 minutes of the half. Harrell went on to play all 20 minutes of the second half and was a catalyst in the Cards six second-half steals. Harrell finished the game with six points and six rebounds.

“We played a hard-fought game. I’m proud of the way our kids came into the building and played well early on. I thought our offense was really good I thought we played very well for the first 20 minutes. It also helped that Montrezel (Harrell) was in foul trouble. Certainly they made some adjustments and it really hurt us at the beginning of the second half. We had a hard time and by the time we got our legs back under us, we were in trouble,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownwell said.

Louisville was led in scoring by senior guard Chris Jones who had 22 points on the night to go along with his game high five steals. Sophomore guard Terry Rozier added 15 points, six rebounds and four assists.

“There are only a couple teams that will run up and down the court with you, in the ACC there are lot of grind it out kind of teams, a lot of teams that play great half court defense. We’ve got a lot of young guys that don’t know about conference play but these past two games have taught us a lot, we’ve got to grind them out,” Jones said.

Next up the Cardinals travel to North Carolina to take on the UNC Tarheels. The game will be Saturday at 12:00 pm.

Photo by Austin Lassell / The Louisville Cardinal

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