Louisville got 22 points from Jordan Nwora and 17 from Darius Perry as it scored the most significant victory of the Chris Mack era to date with an 86-78 win over Vermont Friday night at the KFC Yum Center.
A home crowd that was more lively than it had been for the first two contests of 2018-19 suffered through some anxious moments late in the game as it watched a 22-point Cardinal lead dwindle to single digits. Some poised free-throw shooting and a not so poised fast-break make by Perry allowed U of L to avoid disaster and secure a win over the preseason favorites to win the America East conference.
: Friday night highlights— Louisville Basketball (@LouisvilleMBB) November 17, 2018
Rewind the top plays from the 86-78 win over Vermont. pic.twitter.com/ZzFW5WCj8a
Despite being saddled with foul trouble for most of the evening, Vermont’s Anthony Lamb led all scorers with 25 points. The Catamounts actually led Louisville with eight minutes to go in the first half before Lamb picked up his second foul. With the junior resigned to the bench, U of L was able to head into the break with a 45-35 advantage.
Cardinal big man Steven Enoch was once again a standout, scoring 14 points. His effectiveness as a scorer forced Vermont to double-team him throughout the second half, a trend which created more space for Nwora, Perry and company to operate. V.J. King also hit double figures with 14 points, while Ryan McMahon added eight points to go along with three assists.
With the victory, Chris Mack became just the fourth coach in U of L history to win each of his first three games. This also marks the 10th straight year the Cards have started 3-0.
The competition now takes another step up, as Louisville embarks on a stretch where they’ll face three consecutive ranked opponents. The Cardinals will go up against No. 5 Tennessee next Wednesday in New York for the NIT Preseason Tip-Off, and then will get either No. 2 Kansas or No. 24 Marquette two days later. A home game against No. 11 Michigan State will follow that, and then they’ll hit the road for yet another tough test against Seton Hall.
Here’s your final box score from a very solid night for the new era of Louisville basketball: