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Louisville holds off Bellarmine, 73-68

City champs.

Bellarmine v Louisville Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

A hot start to the second half allowed Louisville to avoid a second straight loss to Bellarmine and emerge with a 73-68 victory over their city rivals(?).

The Cards trailed for the bulk of the first half and by five at the break, but a 16-1 run during the second segment of the second half allowed the home team to gain some breathing room. Bellarmine would fight back and get as close as two points with just eight seconds to go, but some clutch free-throw shooting by Kenny Payne’s guys down the stretch prevented a third straight loss to an Atlantic Sun opponent.

Skyy Clark knocked down three of Louisville’s seven three-point field goals, and led he Cardinals with 21 points. Tre White (14) and Mike James (10) joined Clark in double figures, while a missed free-throw in the final seconds was the only thing that kept Brandon Huntley-Hatfield (9 points, 10 rebounds) from a double-double.

Bellarmine, which was playing without leading scorer Ben Johnson (13.0 ppg), missed just one of its 19 free-throw attempts, but was ultimately done in by some subpar three-point shooting (6-of-20) and being on the wrong end of a whopping 13 offensive foul calls.

With the victory, Louisville not only managed to exact some revenge for last season’s 67-66 defeat, but it matched its victory total from the entirety of Payne’s first campaign.

Once again, it was far from a thing of beauty, and there were a number of things that made you want to do more than just scratch your head. But also once again, the final result beats the alternative.

City champs. ACC-Atlantic Sun Challenge champs.