For the first 15 minutes of Louisville’s 80-70 win over Boston College, the home team’s performance looked eerily similar to the one the Cards gave exactly a week ago at Pittsburgh.
U of L struggled to find a flow offensively, settled for contested outside shots, and didn’t defend well enough to keep BC’s guards from getting to the basket with minimal effort. The result was a 28-17 deficit near the end of the first half’s penultimate segment.
The difference between this first half and the one a week ago was that the Cardinals ultimately woke up. Spearheaded by the play of Dwayne Sutton and Jordan Nwora, Louisville reeled off a 24-5 run to carry a comfortable 43-33 lead with it into the locker room.
The good times continued for most of the second half. Louisville stayed hot from the outside and upped its effort on the defensive end, ultimately stretching its lead to as many as 23 points with less than nine minutes to play.
But just as they did a year ago when they played at the Yum Center, Boston College went on a furious rally to make the final five minutes of Wednesday’s game far more tense than they should have been. The Eagle ripped off 16 consecutive points to trim Louisville’s lead all the way down to five with just under three minutes to go. They remained within striking distance until a Sutton offensive rebound followed by a Nwora three took their wind away and gave the Cards an 8-point cushion with 46 seconds to go.
In keeping with a consistent theme for Cardinal opponents this season, BC senior guard Jordan Chatman chose the KFC Yum Center as the venue to break out of an extended shooting slump. Chatman connected on 6 of his 10 three-point attempts — the bulk of those coming during BC’s big run — and finished with a team-high 21 points. He had misfired on 17 of his most recent 19 attempts from beyond the arc heading into the game.
Chatman’s monster effort allowed Boston College to stay in the game despite a (relatively speaking) subpar performance from superstar Ky Bowman. The ACC’s second-leading scorer missed all six of his three-point attempts and was just 6-of-17 from the field, finishing with 14 points to go along with 13 rebounds and seven assists.
For Louisville, Nwora finished with a career-high 32 points, becoming the first Louisville player to score 30 or more in a game since Wayne Blackshear dropped 31 against on Cal State Northridge on Dec. 23, 2014. Nwora also added 10 rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block.
Sutton also produced a double-double, scoring 14 points to go with 10 boards. Christen Cunningham added nine points and a season-high eight assists.
Here’s the final box score from a strange but ultimately successful evening at the KFC Yum Center: