After a week away from basketball after their first ranked win of the season, the #16 Louisville Cardinals had to shake off the rust against Wake Forest.
In a spectacular shooting performance, Louisville won their fifth-straight game and beat the Demon Deacons 77-65.
Originally set to face Georgia Tech on January 9, that game was postponed due to COVID among the Yellowjackets. The Cards went from unranked last week to just outside the top 15 this week, and were looking to prove they belong among the best in the country.
The Deacons have struggled early in their ACC slate and have only managed six total games so far this year. They were looking for their first conference victory to try and right the ship.
As has been their way, the Cards got out to a glacial start and letting the Deacons get an early 7-2 lead in the first three minutes.
Louisville got it together after that, ripping off a 22-5 run over the next six minutes to take a 12-point lead, increasing it to 14 a minute later. This included going 5-5 from three-point range.
Wake Forest wasn’t out of it yet, going on a 12-2 run to get within four points with just over four minutes to go.
But the Cards wrapped up the first half with a final 11-3 run to go into halftime up 46-34.
Samuell Williamson led the Cards with 10 points in the first half.
Louisville widened the lead to 16 points 90 seconds into the second half. But the Deacons responded with an 18-3 run to bring them within one point with 12 minutes left to go in the game.
The Cards managed to keep Wake Forest from retaking the lead and managed to keep scoring and get back up to a double-digit lead as the game wound down.
Both teams went on more little scoring runs in the final minutes, but Louisville was always able to keep their opponents at bay.
A 7-2 run in the final two minutes out the Deacons away for good.
Louisville made over half of their field goals this game, going 29-57 for 50.9 percent.
And while the Cards hit their first five three-pointers they could only manage to make two more the entire game, finishing 7-16 for a still-respectable 43.8 percent.
Carlik Jones led all scorers with 23 points on 9-20 shooting. He made it a double-double by pulling down 10 boards.
Also getting a double-double was Samuell Williamson with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Dre Davis was the only other Cardinal with double-figure scoring with 15.
Louisville moves to 9-1 on the season (4-0 ACC). Wake Forest falls to 3-4 (0-4 ACC).
The Cards will look to continue their win streak on the road against Miami on January 16.<