Thanks to the vagaries of this college basketball season, the #11 Louisville Cardinals are currently tied for first in the ACC along with #6 Florida State. They would hold first place outright with a victory over Virginia Tech, at least until the Seminoles play again. The Cards have two games in which to hold on to that spot, starting with Virginia Tech.
Louisville sent the seniors out with a bang, blowing out the Hokies 68-52.
Virginia Tech had been struggling before this game, having lost eight out of their last nine and in no real position to do much of anything in the postseason. They would surely be looking to join the legion of unranked teams to defeat ranked opponents this year.
Louisville was looking to honor six players leaving the program after this season, while also ending their home season on a high note after the loss to Florida State. A loss would also risk their position at the top of the conference.
The Cards would have to play without Malik Williams, who sprained his ankle against Florida State and was still in a walking boot for this contest.
Both teams couldn’t buy a bucket to start the game. Louisville scored their first points two minutes in, only to have neither squad score again till the Hokies sank a jumper three minutes later.
Tech maintained a small lead over the Cards for most of the first half. Louisville managed to tie it up as the half wound down, and went into halftime tied at 27.
Both teams shot around 41 percent in the first 20 minutes, although the Hokies made five three-pointers which was a big reason they were in the game.
Tech did have eight turnovers in the first half when they usually only average 10 per game.
Jordan Nwora led Louisville with 11 points in the first half.
The teams stayed close early in the second. The Hokies were up 34-32 with about 16 minutes left when the Cards went on a 15-2 run to get an 11-point lead. They increased the lead to 16 in the closing seconds, and while Tech scored some they couldn’t get back within ten points.
The Cards dominated on the boards 40-26. This included 11 offensive rebounds, which Louisville turned into 13 second-chance points. They also dominated in the paint 32-12.
The Hokies turned the ball over 16 times, which Louisville converted into 19 points.
Jordan Nwora finished with 20 points on 8-16 shooting. He made it a double-double, grabbing 12 boards.
Lamarr “Fresh” Kimble scored five points and had three steals.
Steven Enoch had eight points and 11 rebounds in his final game.
Dwayne Sutton scored eight points and grabbed nine boards.
Ryan McMahon finished with ten points and also earned three assists.
Keith Oddo, the walk-on graduate transfer, only played in the last minute of the game. He put up one shot, a three-pointer, which he made much to the elation of his fans and teammates.
Louisville moves to 24-6 for the season (15-4 ACC). They were 17-1 at home. Virginia Tech falls to 15-14 (6-12 ACC).
The Cards wrap up their regular season with a rematch against cursed Virginia on March 7.<