Louisville didn’t have its fastball Wednesday night, but still managed to escape with a 72-68 win over a Lipscomb squad that seems destined to make a second straight trip to the NCAA tournament.
The Cards led by double digits on multiple occasions in the second half, but a burst of production from preseason Atlantic Sun Player of the Year Garrison Matthews brought the Bisons back within 1 at the 1:32 mark. A Malik Williams free-throw and a clutch jumper from Christen Cunningham allowed U of L to put two possessions between themselves and the visitors for good. Matthews finished with a team-high 20 points.
For Louisville, Jordan Nwora scored the team’s first 11 points and finished with a game-high 22. Dwayne Sutton made two of the game’s most important shots in the second half, and chipped in 14 points and nine boards. Williams picked up the slack from a rough shooting night for Steven Enoch and notched his first double-double of the year with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Maybe it was finals week, maybe it was the name on the front of their opponent’s jerseys, or maybe it was a natural letdown after a string of high-profile, nationally televised games. Whatever the reason, Louisville wasn’t fully into tonight’s game — at first, at least — the way they’ve been to every game since the season-opener. Even on a night like that, they were able to knock off a team that is currently No. 43 in the NET Rankings, and figures to be a Quadrant 2 or 3 win for the Cards come Selection Sunday.
Chris Mack: “Once again, I would like to thank Kenny Klein for this year’s schedule. It’s just awesome. . . . We beat a really, really, really good team tonight. And our team knew it."— Eric Crawford (@ericcrawford) December 13, 2018
I’ll take it.
Now let’s get some stuff right, take care of business in these next two, and then end one of the strangest calendar years in Louisville basketball history with a win over Kentucky.