By Derek DeBurger

For the third time in history, and the second time under head coach Kenny Payne, Louisville has reached 20 losses in a single season; this time it was at the hands of fellow blue blood, the No. 10 Duke Blue Devils.

Sloppy play for this team has become almost routine at this point. After taking an early 3-2 lead, Louisville went scoreless for four-and-a-half minutes. Despite the woeful offense the Cards gifted Duke, the Blue Devils only held a five-point lead after the first media timeout. Once Louisville finally got back on the scoreboard Duke was unable to pull away well into the first half. It wasn’t until the Cards cut the lead to four points that Duke was finally able to consistently score. Three consecutive three-pointers kicked off Duke’s 16-4 run.

Louisville trailed 23-36 at the half.

The second half was a slow, drawn-out death for the Cards as—yes—their offense finally picked up the pace, but the defense was one of the worst performances of the season. Duke scored 48 points in the second half as they gradually built upon their lead until it was completely out of reach. Nothing on offense mattered when the defense wasn’t even remotely effective.

Louisville would lose 84-59.

Once again, Ty-Laur Johnson did not start. Skyy Clark is a good player. Johnson doesn’t have to start over him and could start next to him to run a two-guard set. There is a clear correlation between Johnson’s lack of minutes and stagnation in the offense. He isn’t the best player on the team, but he needs to play—and to start.

While the defense in the second half was the worst of the season, it’s unfortunately nothing new. Louisville as a team gives up the largest percentage of open looks from three in the country, and Duke was 11-of-22 from deep. The Cards have offensive talent and have put together incredible offensive performances at times this season. Defense requires effort. The problem, however, is that it’s hard to give full effort on defense when you don’t have a good understanding of how to defend.

While this is the elusive 20th loss of the season, this is the 14th 20-plus-point loss under coach Payne. In Payne’s 12-48 record at Louisville, he has lost by 20-plus more than he has won and 23.3% of the games he’s coached have ended in 20-point blowouts.

Louisville falls to 8-20 on the season and 3-14 in the ACC with just three games left in the regular season.

Photo Courtesy // Lance King, Getty Images