A win against Notre Dame may very well have saved their postseason hopes, but the Louisville Cardinals still have plenty of work to do in the last few games of the regular season, starting with a matchup at Duke.
It took almost 45 minutes and everything Carlik Jones had, but the Cards held out to beat the Blue Devils 80-73.
Usually a basketball powerhouse, Duke has had a devil of a season spending most of it out of the Top 25 for the first time in recent memory. They were on a four-game win streak coming into this game, however, including a one-point win over #7 Virginia.
Barring an epic collapse, the Cards are seemingly in the NCAA tournament no matter what and now they’re playing for all important seeding. Winning a majority of their final games would put them in a good position for the postseason.
The game stayed close for the first nine minutes. The game was tied at 17 before an 11-3 Louisville run gave them an eight-point lead with seven minutes to go.
The Cards kept ahead for the rest of the first half, increasing their lead to 10 and going into halftime up 36-26.
Carlik Jones, David Johnson and Jae’Lyn Withers all had nine points each in the first 20 minutes.
Louisville got some bad news early in the second half, as Malik Williams appeared aggravate the foot injury that caused him to miss so much time earlier this year.
Duke chipped away at the lead, finally regaining it with about eight minutes to go.
The teams swapped leads for several times as the game wound down.
The Cards were up by one with a minute left. It didn’t help matters that David Johnson fouled out with 37 seconds left, allowing Duke to hit two free throws and retake the lead.
Carlik Jones hit one of two free throws to tie it up on Louisville’s next possession, the Cards grabbed the rebound off Jones’ miss but couldn’t put it back in and out the game went to overtime tied at 65.
Louisville opened the overtime period with an 8-2 run to go up by six.
Jae’Lyn Withers fouled out shortly thereafter.
In the final final minutes it all came down to free throws, and the Cards made all of theirs to close the game out with a win.
Carlik Jones led the team in scoring with 25 points on 9-18 shooting. He also had six rebounds and four assists.
Samuell Williamson earned a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Jae’Lyn Withers nearly had a double-double for the game, with 16 points and nine rebounds.
Louisville moves to 11-5 for the season (7-4 ACC). Duke falls to 11-8 (9-6 ACC).
The Cards open the month of March with the first of two straight ranked teams, starting with a matchup against #16 Virginia Tech on March 3.<