The #11 Louisville Cardinals’ blowout victory over Syracuse was an invigorating shot of spirits after two straight demoralizing losses. And #6 Duke’s humiliating loss to NC State was the chaser, vaulting the Cards back atop the conference standings and restoring order to the universe. They were looking to continue that balance against North Carolina.
After dominating for most of the game, Louisville beat the Tar Heels 72-55 to get their 14th ACC win of the season.
North Carolina has traditionally been one of the country’s elite teams but have struggled mightily this season and are currently floundering at the bottom of the ACC rankings. This is mainly due to their being decimated by injuries for large chunks of the season. They’re just now getting back to something resembling full strength and need to play lights out if they hope to get anywhere in the postseason.
It took a while for either team to start knocking down shots. The Cards didn’t score ten points until almost seven minutes had gone by. As a result, the teams stayed close for most of the first half. With about nine minutes left to go Louisville started hitting more shots than the Tar Heels, the slowly but surely widening the gap, capping it off with a 13-4 run that had them headed into halftime up 36-23.
Jordan Nwora led the team with nine points in the first half.
The Cards scored the first 11 points of the second half to increase their lead to 24, and North Carolina couldn’t really get close after that. They whittled the lead down as the game wore on but couldn’t get the deficit to single digits as Louisville cruised to victory.
The Cards outrebounded the Heels 38-29, including 14 offensive rebounds.
Louisville did have some things to improve upon. They turned the ball over 12 times in the game. Luckily North Carolina had 17 turnovers, which the Cards converted to 18 points.
Jordan Nwora earned a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Malik Williams was just behind him with 17 points, almost getting a double-double with nine rebounds. Dwayne Sutton also almost got a double-double with eight points and nine rebounds.
The Cards move to 23-5 (14-3 ACC). North Carolina falls to 10-17 (3-13 ACC).
The Cards head down to Tallahassee with the ACC title on the line in a rematch against #8 Florida State on February 24.<