For the first time in 738 days, the Louisville men’s basketball team has won a road game.
The Cardinals got a career-high 26 points from Mike James on their way to a stunning 80-71 victory over a Miami team that came into the night as a 16.5-point favorite.
Louisville had previously lost 22 consecutive road games, a streak which dated back to a win over Georgia Tech on Jan. 2, 2022. With Kenny Payne as head coach, the Cardinals are now 1-20 in games played outside of the KFC Yum Center.
While James torched the Hurricanes on the perimeter, Brandon Huntley-Hatfield was having his way with the hosts on the interior. BHH got the better of ACC Player of the Year candidate Norchad Omier, finishing with 22 points and nine rebounds.
Matthew Cleveland paced Miami with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Wooga Poplar added 18 and 4. Omier, who entered the night leading the team in both scoring (18.2 ppg) and rebounding (9.1 rpg), finished with a paltry nine and seven.
Miami gave a below average performance from beyond the arc (11-of-34), but the final score here was no fluke. Louisville played harder, played better, and executed down the stretch when the game was up for grabs.
With the win, Louisville rid itself of the dubious distinction of being the only team in the ACC without a conference win. The Cards improved to 1-3 in league play, while Miami — which had been 9-0 at home going into the game — dropped to 2-2.
I don’t know how much, if at all, this changes things big picture, but for now, that doesn’t matter. Kenny Payne and these players have earned the right to celebrate this one, and I hope they do.