Three days after its first bad loss of the 2019-20 season, Louisville responded with its worst overall performance of the campaign. The Cardinals once again started slow and never really heated up in an embarrassing 77-62 loss at Clemson.
After going 3-for-24 from three in Wednesday’s 64-58 loss at Georgia Tech, Louisville stayed cold from deep, connecting on only six of their 26 attempts from beyond the arc. For the game, U of L was just 24-of-68 from the field overall, good for 35.8 percent.
“It’s my fault,” Louisville head coach Chris Mack said after the game. “I have to figure it out. We as a coaching staff have to figure it out. It looks like we’re playing like we don’t have anything to play for. It’s frustrating. But it’s my job to figure it out, and I’ve failed so far.”
Mack promised a change in the starting lineup after the loss to Georgia Tech. The change was not the one most Cardinal fans were expecting, as leading scorer Jordan Nwora was benched in favor of freshman Samuell Williamson. Nwora almost certainly did not respond in the inspired manner Mack was hoping for, as the ACC Player of the year candidate turned the ball over three times in his first stretch on the court. He would finish with four giveaways and just five points on one made field goal.
Dwayne Sutton (18) and David Johnson (12) were the only double figure scorers for Louisville, whose last lead came at 5-4 with 17:59 to play in the first half.
Clemson, which shot 51.0 percent from the field, was led by John Newman III’s 23 points. It was his first game scoring in double figures since Jan. 14.
Though they’ll likely need a minor miracle to make the NCAA tournament, Clemson has now defeated two top five teams in the same season for the first time since 1979-80. The Tigers upset then-No. 3 Duke last month. Brad Brownell’s 2019-20 squad also knocked off North Carolina in Chapel Hill, becoming the first Clemson squad ever to do so. The Tigers had previously been 0-59 in road games against UNC.
Despite all this, Clemson remains just 13-12 overall and 7-8 in the ACC.
For Louisville, the question is where the hell do you go from here. This team was all alone in first in the ACC and riding a 10-game winning streak just four days ago. Now they’re going to be the subject of an extreme amount of negative attention, both locally and nationally, between this moment and when they take the floor again on Wednesday night against Syracuse.
I don’t know what that answers are, because the questions are all so extreme and so out of nowhere. All I do know is that today was the most embarrassing start to finish effort of the Chris Mack era to date.