In a story that has become all too familiar for Louisville in conference play, the Cardinals fell behind by a large amount early, fought back valiantly to make things interesting, but ultimately fell short in an 80-72 loss to Wake Forest Saturday afternoon at the KFC Yum Center.
U of L had previously been 4-0 in home games against the Demon Deacons.
The first half for Louisville was about as bad as we’ve seen from the Cards this season, which is saying something. Eleven minutes into the game the team trailed by 17 and had more turnovers (8) than points (7). They would trail by as many as 22 before the hot shooting of Mike James and El Ellis got them within three with 2:40 to play.
Wake Forest responded with a huge three from Damari Monsanto to stretch the league back to six. Ellis then missed a layup on the other end and compounded the mistake by fouling 85% free-throw shooter Tyree Appleby moments later. The Deacs then salted away the final minute and a half as Louisville fell to 2-14 overall and 0-5 in conference play.
The good? Louisville fought hard on the offensive glass to earn 15 second chance opportunities, which pretty much kept them in the game. Also, James continued the extremely strong start to the second half of his redshirt freshman season, netting a game-high 24 points and hauling down a team-high eight rebounds.
The bad? U of L once again looked completely unprepared to play when the ball was tipped, and dug themselves a hole that proved to be too steep to climb all the way out of. The Cardinals finished with 14 turnovers, with nine of those coming in the game’s opening 12 minutes. Louisville also refused to guard the perimeter against one of the best shooting teams in the conference, as Wake knocked down 13 three-pointers, a majority of those coming without a Cardinal defender within five feet.
At the end of the day, what really matters is that we’ve now covered the spread in four straight games.