By John McCarthy —
The No. 5 Louisville Cardinals men’s basketball team won against Wake Forest 86-76 in a tough match Feb. 5 at the KFC Yum! Center.
This extends the Cardinals’ winning streak to nine as they continue their ascent in the NCAA basketball rankings.
The Cardinals (20-3, 11-1) have accrued 16 wins in which they have defeated their opponent by 10 or more points this season.
The efficiency of the Demon Deacons (10-12, 3-9) stunned the Cardinals in the first half. Wake Forest busted out of the gates, shooting 60 percent from the field on 18 shots made. They also managed to out-rebound Louisville, heading into halftime plus five on the boards.
At one point, Wake Forest led the Cardinals by 16, but that would end up being their largest lead of the game. Louisville managed to keep the deficit within a dozen with their three-point shooting.
The Cardinals shot 50 percent from three in the first half with nine three-pointers made.
Junior Jordan Nwora headed into the locker room with a dozen points and a pair of rebounds. Junior Malik Williams had eight points in the first half. Senior Ryan McMahon made two of Louisville’s nine first-half three-pointers.
The second half was all about the Cardinals’ monstrous comeback.
Without Louisville’s game-changing five minute run to open the second half, this game would have come down to the wire. With 14 minutes left to play, Nwora fooled a Wake Forest defender with a filthy crossover and followed up with an off-balance one-footed three-pointer.
Senior Dwayne Sutton carried the energy next for the Cardinals in the second half by grabbing a steal and taking it to the other end for a strong two-handed dunk.
Nwora finished with 21 points, seven rebounds and an assist. Sutton ended with a double-double, shooting for 15 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Seniors Steven Enoch and graduate Fresh Kimble came to life in the second half. Enoch collected two rebounds and shot for 11 points. Kimble dished four assists, grabbed 4 rebounds and scored 14 points. Collectively the Cardinals finished the game shooting 48 percent from the field.
Wake Forest had three players finishing with double-digit scoring, but the shooting of Louisville sought victory for the Cardinals.
Louisville will look to improve their winning streak to 17 when they host Virginia Feb. 8. The game will begin at 4 p.m. inside the KFC Yum! Center.
Photo by Anna Claire Will // The Louisville Cardinal