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Louisville comes up short at Michigan State, 71-67

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Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Despite a 13-point first half lead and a pair of monster efforts from its two fifth-year seniors, Louisville came up just short in its first true test of the season, falling 71-67 to No. 3 Michigan State at the Breslin Center Wednesday night.

The Cardinals controlled the game for most of the first half, holding MSU without a field goal for the game's first eight minutes and nine seconds. The Spartans then took advantage of Chinanu Onuaku's two early fouls by dominating the glass and ending the half with a late flurry to cut U of L's lead to 32-29.

The back-and-forth continued in the game's final 20 minutes, with Damion Lee and Trey Lewis going shot for shot with Michigan State's Denzel Valentine and Bryn Forbes. Lee finished with a team-high 23 points, closely followed by Lewis' 21. Forbes buried five huge 3-pointers on his way to a 20-point effort, while Valentine dropped a game-high 25. Valentine was especially key in the game's final minute, hitting six straight free-throws to keep Louisville from having a shot to tie the game or take a lead.

As much as it hurts to come up just short in a game of this magnitude, the biggest story to come out of this game is that Louisville is legit. Beating up on inferior competition is one thing, but for the Cards to go punch-for-punch with the No. 3 team in the country -- in their first true road game of the season, no less -- it speaks volumes.

The defensive lapses will be worked on, the offensive execution late in the game will get better, and this team will have a chance to be right there when all is said and done.

Here's your final box score:

Louisville Cardinals
STARTERS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Jaylen Johnson, F 1-3 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 2
Chinanu Onuaku, F 1-4 0-0 0-0 0 6 6 0 0 1 1 4 2
Quentin Snider, G 2-8 0-1 0-0 1 1 2 1 1 0 0 4 4
Trey Lewis, G 7-13 2-6 5-5 3 3 6 3 1 0 3 2 21
Damion Lee, G 8-15 2-8 5-5 0 3 3 0 5 0 4 2 23
BENCH FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Mangok Mathiang, C 3-6 0-0 1-2 4 0 4 1 1 0 2 1 7
Anas Mahmoud, F 1-5 0-0 0-4 4 2 6 0 1 3 1 1 2
Raymond Spalding, F 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0
Donovan Mitchell, G 3-6 0-2 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 5 6
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
26-60 4-17 11-16 14 16 30 7 10 4 13 21 67
43.3% 23.5% 68.8%
Michigan State Spartans
STARTERS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Matt Costello, F 2-6 0-1 3-4 3 2 5 2 0 3 3 1 7
Javon Bess, F 0-2 0-0 0-0 1 2 3 0 1 0 1 1 0
Bryn Forbes, G 7-11 5-9 1-3 0 2 2 2 2 0 0 0 20
Denzel Valentine, G 7-16 3-8 8-8 2 3 5 7 1 0 3 2 25
Lourawls Nairn Jr., G 0-5 0-2 0-0 0 1 1 2 1 0 0 1 0
BENCH FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Deyonta Davis, F 4-6 0-0 1-2 4 2 6 1 1 3 2 2 9
Marvin Clark Jr., F 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Kenny Goins, F 2-2 0-0 1-2 3 10 13 1 0 1 3 2 5
Eron Harris, G 1-5 1-3 2-2 1 1 2 1 0 0 1 2 5
Alvin Ellis III, G 0-0 0-0 0-1 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0
Matt McQuaid, G 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 0 0
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
23-54 9-23 16-22 17 23 40 17 7 8 16 14 71
42.6% 39.1% 72.7%

Technical Fouls: PLAYERS: None - TEAMS: None