By John McCarthy–
No. 5 Louisville men’s basketball defeated Virginia 80-73 at home in a tight matchup.
The two ACC teams showed down in the KFC Yum! Center Feb. 8. The Cardinals were able to extend their winning streak to ten games.
Before the game, the University of Louisville (20-4, 11-2) honored its 1980 National Championship team led by Darrell Griffith.
The hype of the Yum! Center helped push the Cardinals out to an early lead over the Cavaliers. Louisville bottomed five or their first six from the three-point line. The Cardinals first 15 points came via the three-point shot.
As a collective, Louisville shot 53.3% from three in the first half. The Cardinals were able to out rebound Virginia (15-7, 8-3) in the first half, leading to multiple second chance buckets that put the Cardinals up big going into the locker room.
Going into halftime, Louisville led the Cavaliers 44-30.
In the second half the Cardinals witnessed a different Virginia team. Virginia fired back, and shot 53% from the field as a team. They also found success from the three-ball, sinking 50% of the threes they attempted.
The difference between the two ACC rivals was the rebounding category. Louisville hustled on the boards to out-rebound Virginia by 12.
With time winding down late in the second half, Junior Malik Williams went in for a two-handed flush and was hit hard, but there was no foul call on the dunk attempt. Seconds later on the other end of the floor, a foul was called on Louisville. Coach Chris Mack was furious with the call, and in turn was called for the technical foul.
This ignited a flame beneath the Cardinals for the remainder of the game. Immediately after the technical foul, freshman David Johnson hit a jumper from the elbow. Louisville went on to shutdown the Cavalier offense and hit all of their free-throws to win 80-73.
Junior Jordan Nwora finished with 22 points and seven rebounds. Senior Steven Enoch finished with 13 points and two rebounds. Williams finished with 13 points and six rebounds. Although they are currently unranked, Virginia has not been an easy task for Louisville in the past. Nwora said, “We have had a bunch of chances to beat them, and somehow they always find a way to win. It was good just being able to finish the deal today.”
Louisville’s next match will be at McCamish Pavilion where they will take on Georgia Tech. The game is Feb. 12 beginning at 8 p.m.
Photo by Anna Claire Will // The Louisville Cardinal