Louisville lost its poise in the second half, its most vocal team leader to an ankle injury, and multiple games to Florida State in the same season for the first time since 1977-78.
Other than that, it was a nice little Monday.
For a solid chunk of the evening, it appeared as though U of L was going to score a monster win that would put them in the driver’s seat of the race for the ACC regular season title. The Cards led FSU by eight at halftime and then stretched the lead to 12 in the opening minutes of the second half before the home team upped its pressure. That pressure resulted in a 15-0 run that Louisville never recovered from on its way to an 82-67 loss.
Perhaps more troubling than the final score was the fact that Malik Williams left the game in the first half with an apparent ankle injury, and then returned to the bench in tears and wearing a boot on his left foot.
Trent Forrest led the way with 16 points for Florida State, which shot better than 50 percent from the field for the second time in as many tries against Louisville. Four other Seminoles scored in double figures, which got to the free-throw line 13 more times than U of L and outscored the Cardinals by seven at the stripe.
Louisville was led by Ryan McMahon, who came off the bench to hit a trio of three-pointers and score 14 points. David Johnson added 13, but was plagued for a solid portion of the night by foul trouble and six turnovers.
With the win, Florida State remained unbeaten at home on the season and extended its overall winning streak inside the Tucker Center to 22 games. For Louisville, the loss dropped them to 20-1 on the season when leading at halftime and significantly decreased the likelihood of them earning at least a share of the ACC’s regular season title.
I’m not sure I can remember a game outside of the 2013 Big East championship that turned that completely that quickly. It was a whole lot more fun to be on the other end of it. Louisville finished the second half with seven turnovers and just nine made field goals. If you look just at the game’s final 15 minutes, the Cards had more turnovers (7) than made shots (6).
Yes, the officiating — especially the no walk call that resulted in Johnson’s fourth foul — was annoying, but Louisville also showed zero composure when Florida State amped up its pressure. Even when they were scoring early in the second half, it felt like the points were coming after 24 seconds of nowhere dribbling and then a guy making a tough shot. The Cards never had a real answer for what FSU brought out of the locker room.
There was also some noticeable bad blood on display. Ryan McMahon almost fought the whole damn team after an FSU walk-on had some words for him.
Ryan McMahon was really about to try and take on the entire Florida State team by himself. pic.twitter.com/hvtxYZx01Y— Kyle Boone (@Kyle__Boone) February 25, 2020
Fresh Kimble and Trent Forrest then got into it after one stoppage of play. And then even on one good foot, Williams had more than a few words for Forrest in the postgame handshake line. It should also be noted that Chris Mack and Leonard Hamilton didn’t take more than a millisecond to exchange pleasantries after the game, nor did they after the first meeting.
I know FSU is a great team and an awful matchup for us, but I’d love for us to be fortunate enough to see them again in Greensboro.
Now it’s time to sit around and chew on this one for the next six days. It’s going to be zero fun.