Louisville’s furious second half rally fell just short as Mike James’ potential game-tying three at the buzzer found nothing but iron and the Cards fell to Florida State, 81-78, Saturday afternoon inside the KFC Yum Center.
The loss dropped U of L to 3-20 on the season, marking just the second time in the 109-year history of the program that the Cardinals have lost 20 games. The team’s next loss will set a new program record.
Louisville trailed by nine points at halftime and by as many as 17 in the second half before a late 17-2 run drew the game even at 76 points apiece with 1:24 to play. Then, as has been the case in close games all season, U of L’s opponent was able to execute and the Cardinals were not.
Florida State’s Matthew Cleveland put the Seminoles back in front with a layup on one end. On the other, Louisville countered with a disjointed possession that featured a timeout and, ultimately, a desperation heave from El Ellis that found nothing but glass. FSU made 3-of-4 free-throws from that point forward, resulting in a hectic final possession that eventually saw the ball end up in James’ hands for a wide-open, but sadly ill-fated, look to send the game into overtime.
Ellis led Louisville with 22 points and a game-high seven assists. Kamari Lands came off the bench to set a new career-high with 15 points, while Jae’Lyn Withers added 14 on 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc.
All five Florida State starters scored in double figures, with Cleveland’s 15-point, 10-rebound effort leading the way. The Seminoles have now won seven straight over the Cards.