Despite some ... sleepy ... stretches, the third-ranked Louisville basketball team pulled away from Miami (Ohio) late to score a 70-46 victory in its final game inside the KFC Yum Center of 2019.
After a slow start that included nearly as many first-half turnovers (4) as points (5), Cardinal star Jordan Nwora finished with a game-high 20 points to go with eight rebounds. Nwora did not commit a turnover after the break, but he still wasn’t letting himself or his teammates off the hook for their poor start.
“I just think all around as a team we weren’t doing what we usually do on offense,” Nwora said. “The ball wasn’t moving. Part of that was on me. I took a few bad shots. A few other guys took a few bad shots. That’s why we couldn’t get it going in the first half. But we were able to turn it around in the second half and get the ball moving and a lot more people involved.”
Louisville was also able to assert its will inside in the second half. After being even in the rebounding battle at the break, U of L was able to out-rebound its much smaller visitors by 14 in the second half.
Dwayne Sutton scored eight points and matched his career-high in both rebounding (15) and blocked shots (3). Malik Williams came off the bench and also flirted with a double-double, finishing with nine points and a 11 boards.
Ryan McMahon was the only Cardinal besides Nwora to score in double figures, netting 11 points.
Louisville now gets a 10-day break before traveling to face Lexington Basketball Academy on Dec. 28. It’s the longest amount of time off for a Cardinal basketball team since a 16-day stretch where U of L went without a game from Dec. 19, 1989 through Jan. 3, 1990.
It was far from perfect, but in the end, it was a win that looked (on paper at least) the way it was supposed to. Now we get to gear up for the holidays and for war at the same time.