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North Carolina runs away from Louisville, 86-70

It got interesting for a couple of minutes.

Louisville v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

A slow start once again doomed Louisville as the Cardinals fell on the road to No. 4 North Carolina, 86-70, Wednesday night.

U of L allowed their hosts to score 15 of the game’s first 19 points, a stumble out of the gate that would ultimately prove to be insurmountable.

After trailing by 17 at halftime, Louisville knocked down nine of its first 10 field goal attempts in the second half, and twice trimmed North Carolina’s lead to five. Both times the Tar Heels immediately answered the bell, ultimately pulling away for an anxiety-free final 10 minutes.

Former U of L forward Jae’Lyn Withers, naturally, played his best game as a Tar Heel to date, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He entered the evening averaging 4.0 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.

RJ Davis, the ACC’s leading scorer, finished with a game-high 21 points. Armando Bacot added 19, but DID NOT record a double-double against Louisville for the first time in three years.

The Cardinals were paced by Skyy Clark, who knocked down 4-of-5 three-pointers on his way to a team-high 16 points. Brandon Huntley-Hatfield (15) and Tre White (12) joined Clark in double figures.

Louisville dropped to 6-11 overall and 1-5 in ACC play, while North Carolina improved tp 14-3 and 6-0.

If you’re looking for positives, the Cardinals safely covered the 21.5-point spread, which was the second-largest against U of L in program history. Also, UNC is pretty clearly the toughest team remaining on the 2023-24 schedule and Louisville was competitive with them for about 30 out of 40 minutes on Wednesday night.

So ... you know ... there’s that.