Cardinal Basketball

Louisville 64 – Pittsburgh 54: Cards Win First ACC Matchup

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Cards’ drubbing by Wisconsin was a humbling experience. While they won’t face an opponent the caliber of the Badgers for another few weeks, their strength of schedule does ramp up considerably from here, starting with their first conference matchup against Pittsburgh.

Louisville overcame a rocky first half to win their first ACC contest 64-54.

After a head-scratching loss to St. Francis in their season opener, Pittsburgh went on a five-game win streak heading into their matchup with the Cards. The Panthers were without their head coach Jeff Capel, who tested positive for COVID and had to sit out this game. Their two best players were also out due to injury.

Louisville was still nowhere near full strength, but this game did see the return of Carlik Jones, whose loss was keenly felt against Wisconsin. The game also saw the debut of Josh Nickelberry, the sophomore who has been out due to injury.

The Cards briefly flirted with the Top 25 before getting blown out by the Badgers and were looking to get the season back on track.

Louisville was hot out of the gate, getting up to a 24-9 lead at one point in the first half. But Pittsburgh was able to battle back and tie the game in the final minutes of the half.

The Cards were barely able to stay ahead 30-28 headed into halftime.

Samuell Williamson and David Johnson each had seven points in the first half.

Louisville barely stayed ahead of their opponents for most of the final 20 minutes. With about ten minutes left to go the Cards slowly but surely started increasing their lead. Getting it up to as much as ten points in the final minutes.

The Cards dominated inside, both in scoring and on the boards. They outrebounded Pitt 45-26 and scored 34 points in the paint to the Panthers 24.

A big issue for the Cards was turnovers.  Louisville turned the ball over 17 times, which the Panthers converted into 21 points.

David Johnson led all scorers with 17 points on 8-12 shooting. He made it a double-double as well, pulling down 11 rebounds.

Samuell Williamson also had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Carlik Jones was the only other Cardinal with double-figures scoring.

Louisville moves to 5-1 for the season (1-0 ACC). Pitt falls to 5-2 (1-1 ACC).

The Cards return home to face hated archrival Kentucky on December 26.

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