After suffering their biggest and perhaps most humiliating loss pf the season against Syracuse, the #18 Louisville Cardinals had a much tougher challenge against #3 Virginia.
In a scene that has become all too familiar in these last few weeks, the Cards let a double-digit lead turn into a double-digit deficit in the last quarter of the game and fell to the Cavaliers 64-52.
The last time these two teams met, Louisville was on the verge of a colossal upset before a last second shot stole it away. The Cavaliers haven’t lost a step, even after a historic 16-1 loss in last year’s NCAA tournament, with their only two losses this year being to #2 Duke.
Louisville has had a rough last stretch of games, and is looking to regain their lost swagger in spectacular fashion with yet another top ten win.
Louisville shot much better than they had against the Orange at the start of the game. At around the eight minute mark of the first half, the Cards had made seven field goals, all three pointers, and were able to get up to a 12-point lead.
They had only made six treys for the entire game against Syracuse.
The Cavaliers made an 8-0 run to close the deficit to four points, but a 12-6 Louisville run, including their only two-point field goal of the half and a last-second three by Jordan Nwora sent the Cards into halftime up 37-27.
Nwora and Ryan McMahon scored 12 points each in the half, with McMahon hitting all four of his three-point attempts.
Meanwhile the Cavaliers, normally one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country, went 0-11 from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes.
It was quite the opposite for the second half.
Virginia went on a 8-0 run and tied the game with just over 14 minutes left to go, before going on another 8-3 run with just under nine minutes to go to get their first lead.
The Cavaliers got up to a twelve-point lead as the game wore on and the balance shifted more and more towards Virginia. Louisville only scored two points in the last six minutes of the game.
Virginia dominated the interior, out rebounding the Cards 39-28, scoring 38 points in the paint.
Nwora led team with 17 points on 5-16 shooting. McMahon also scored in double figures.
Dwayne Sutton was Louisville’s leading rebounder with 11 boards.
Louisville falls to 18-10 for the season (9-6 ACC). Virginia moves to 24-2 (12-2 ACC).
The Cards hope to close out the month with a win at Boston College on February 27.<