After losing bad to North Carolina on Saturday, the Cards needed to bounce back and in a hurry against Notre Dame.
Louisville did what they needed to do, beating Notre Dame 69-57.
The Louisville Cardinals were on the receiving end of a historic smackdown at the hands of the Tar Heels. Time will tell how much of that loss could be blamed on their extended COVID break versus any continuing struggles they might have, but the defeat put the Cards squarely on the dreaded bubble and made their last four games even more critical, starting with Notre Dame.
The Fighting Irish have been one of the worst teams in the conference this season, but it’s been a lousy conference. And they have traditionally played the Cards frustratingly close no matter how both teams have been ranked.
Louisville had some unwelcome news before the game, as it was announced that point guard David Johnson would not be playing tonight.
The Cards scored the first six points of the game and kept the Irish at bay for the whole first half.
While Louisville kept ahead of Notre Dame, they left a lot of points on the table. In the middle of the first half, the Cards had several minutes where they could not hit a layup despite several attempts.
Louisville slowly increased their lead as the first half went on, getting up to 11 points with just under three minutes to go.
While Notre Dame scored some, they could get too close to the Cards, who went into halftime up 33-24.
Carlik Jones and Jae’Lyn Withers had eight points each in the first 20 minutes.
A Dre Davis three-pointer gave Louisville a 12-point lead to open the second half.
As is tradition, the Cards eventually let the Irish back in the game. They got within five with about six minutes left.
But Louisville didn’t let their foes take the lead, successfully keeping them at bay and getting the lead back up to double-digits as the contest wound down and never let Notre Dame have another chance.
Carlik Jones led the team in scoring with 18 points on 7-14 shooting.
Jae’Lyn Withers had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Samuell Williamson, Dre Davis and Quinn Slazinski all scored in double-figures for the Cards.
In just his second game back, Malik Williams grabbed 10 boards and added six points.
Louisville moves to 12-5 for the season (7-4 ACC). Notre Dame falls to 9-12 (6-9 ACC).
The Cards go on their last road trip of the regular season, starting with Duke on February 27.<