Conner Farrell —
Men’s basketball (5-2) nabbed its first true road victory of the season against Seton Hall (4-3). The Cardinals struggled for much of the contest but kept their poise late for a 70-65 win in the team’s second-straight nail-biter.
The U of L attack featured a collective effort with ten players scoring. Junior Dwayne Sutton led with 12 points, all of which came in the first half. Fellow junior Ryan McMahon chipped in nine points with three from behind the arc, including the biggest shot of the matchup in the closing seconds to help secure the dub.
“In the beginning of the season, [my shot] didn’t feel as pure as it did over the summer. Now it just feels like butter,” McMahon said. “A big road win for our team – we needed it. Just so proud of all of our guys.”
Sophomores Darius Perry and Jordan Nwora recorded nine points each.
The Pirates capitalized on a slow start from the visitors with a 15-5 edge out of the gate. The Cards struggled to keep up but began to close in with shooting from three-point range.
Sophomore Malik Williams cut the Hall lead to 21-17 as he capped a scoring run with a three-pointer. The opposing sides traded baskets through the rest of the half, resulting in a series of back-and-forth runs and multiple ties.
Louisville took its first lead of the game with 49 seconds left in the first half. Head coach Chris Mack’s squad outscored the home team 31-24 over the course of 15 minutes until they found themselves with a 36-34 lead at intermission. Sutton notched the go-ahead layup.
Seton Hall regained their hold on the lead the first five minutes of the second half, recording nine-for-nine shooting from the field. They pushed out to a 45-41 advantage with the help of unforced turnovers from the Cardinals.
U of L had a difficult time containing the home team’s offense. They canned only two of twelve field goals in that stretch before putting together a four-point mini-run.
With 13 minutes to play, the Cards were in danger of falling behind in double digits. McMahon knifed into the Hall lead with back-to-back three’s, making the score 52-49 at the second media timeout.
The game hit a standstill in the following five minutes. A frenetic and physical pace ensued where both teams managed only two total buckets with six minutes to play.
Following a timeout, Louisville busted the scoring stalemate with a 7-0 run to regain the lead at 61-59.
After Seton Hall cut the U of L lead to one with two minutes to play, McMahon nailed a shot clock buzzer-beating three with 30-seconds left to put his team up four.
The Cards then gave up two baskets on layups, one coming off a turnover on an inbound play.
Sophomore Jordan Nwora sunk four free throws in the final 15 seconds to put the game on ice and secure the 70-65 victory.
Although Mack’s team recorded another close victory, several areas that need improvement are evident. U of L turned the ball over 16 times compared to the Pirates’ seven. Louisville did, however, outrebound Seton Hall 42-28, an area of the score sheet where the Cards failed to find the advantage in recent games.
Men’s basketball caps a big week with two non-conference wins against quality opponents, including an upset of No. 9 Michigan State. They return home on Wednesday, Dec. 5 to face Central Arkansas at 7 p.m.
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Photo by Taris Smith / The Louisville Cardinal