Louisville has seemed to have a different player step up significantly during each game of its current eight-game winning streak.
On Saturday, it was Ryan McMahon’s turn.
The senior guard came off the bench to drill a career-high seven three-pointers and score 23 points as the Cardinals ran away from NC State, 77-57, in Raleigh. The eight-game winning streak is U of L’s longest since joining the ACC in 2014-15.
As a team, Louisville shot a blistering 50.9 percent from the field and an even hotter 55.0 percent (11-for-20) from three. Jordan Nwora (3-for-13) and Samuell Williamson (0-for-4) were the only two of the 10 Cardinals who saw the floor to not make more than half of the shots they attempted. Nwora still finished with 14 points and nine rebounds.
Louisville’s superior depth was once again on full display. Thanks in large part to McMahon’s performance, the Cardinal bench outscored the reserves from NC State 43-5. The last three of those came in the final minute, when North Carolina native Josh Nickelberry buried a three to send the U of L sideline into a frenzy.
Defensively, Louisville limited a struggling NC State team to one of its worst offensive performances of the year. The Wolfpack went just 5-of-23 from beyond the arc, and shot only 32.8 percent from the field for the game. Leading scorer Markell Johnson was held to eight points on 3-of-12 shooting.
It wasn’t a flawless performance from the Cardinals, who turned the ball over 18 times and once again gave a less than stellar effort in the first segment after halftime ... and yet they won by 20 ... on the road ... in a game they were only favored to win by three.
Any concerns that this Louisville team might follow-up its one-loss January the same way last year’s group followed up its one-loss January should have been put to bed today.
It’s an awfully fun time to be a Cardinal fan.