By Cole Emery —
The No. 11 Cardinals defeated North Carolina 72-55 Feb. 19 at the KFC Yum! Center.
The contest had a sloppy start as both teams accumulated seven turnovers collectively in the first four minutes of the game.
Freshman David Johnson made the first basket of the game with an open three-pointer from the left wing.
After a three minute scoring drought for both teams, junior Jordan Nwora got the Cards (23-5, 14-3) back on track with a mid-range jumper. Johnson suffered three turnovers early in the game and senior Ryan McMahon, who drained his first shot from behind the three-point line, subbed him out.
Freshman Cole Anthony for North Carolina (10-17, 3-13) displayed his ability to score inside with his first six points coming from inside the paint.
Graduate Fresh Kimble stole the ball and scored the transition layup to give the Cardinals a double digit lead with less than a minute left in the first half.
The Cardinals took a 36-23 lead into halftime.
Nwora led the charge for the Cardinals with nine points and five rebounds. Junior Malik Williams scored seven points, grabbed four rebounds and dished an assist. Johnson scored five points and assisted three baskets, but did not suffer another turnover for the rest of the half.
Senior Dwayne Sutton scored the first basket of the second with a two-handed slam.
Louisville noticeably slowed the game down to start the second half. They scored eight points in the first four and a half minutes without allowing the Tar Heels to score a single point.
Nwora achieved a double-double in points and rebounds early in the second half as the Cardinals started the half on a 14-3 run.
The Cardinals went to the free-throw line more often in the second half after they shot only two free-throws in the first half and found themselves in the bonus with nine minutes left in the contest.
The Cardinals cruised to the victory and maintained a double digit lead the entire second half.
Nwora finished the game with 18 points, 11 rebounds and two steals. Williams finished with 17 points, nine rebounds, two assists and a block.
Regarding Louisville’s team, future Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams said after the game the team has a chance to win the tournament.
The Cards travel to Florida State in their next contest Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Photo by Jessica Abell // The Louisville Cardinal