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Louisville cruises past North Carolina, 72-55

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All eyes on Monday now.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Four months ago, the thought of Louisville beating North Carolina 72-55 on Feb. 22 would have made citizens of the past believe the 2019-20 Cardinals might be some unbeaten juggernaut. The reality of the actual present day was a U of L team doing simply what it was supposed to do against an undermanned and beaten down Tar Heel squad.

Playing without second-leading scorer Garrison Brooks and key reserve Justin Pierce, UNC didn’t seem to have much of a chance on Saturday, and for the most part, they played like it. Louisville forced the Heels into 17 turnovers and 6-of-22 shooting from beyond the arc in a game that was all but put to bed after the opening 10 minutes.

Jordan Nwora recorded his fifth double-double of the season with a team-high 18 points and 11 rebounds. Malik Williams nearly joined him, scoring 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting while bringing down nine boards. Dwayne Sutton also came tantalizingly close to a double-double with nine rebounds and eight points.

For North Carolina, Cole Anthony scored a team-high 18 points, but it took him 16 shots to get there. No other UNC player hit double figures.

Louisville’s win extended North Carolina’s losing streak to seven games, one away from the longest in the history of the program. It also gave the Tar Heels 13 ACC losses for the first time ever.

The good thing about being in control so early? Louisville was able to conserve at least a little bit of energy against the second fastest-pace team they’ve played this season. That’s no small deal considering the Cards play at Florida State 48 hours from now in what might be the biggest game of the ACC season.

Can’t wait.