After opening up a 12-point lead with 13 minutes left to play, the Cards failed to put Duke away and watched as the Blue Devils cut short Louisville’s first ACC tournament appearance since 2015 by a final score of 81-77.
Once again, free throw shooting proved to be this team’s Achilles heel. Louisville shot 15-26 from the line and to add to that the Cards shot an abysmal 4-21 from 3-point range. Even with those horrific shooting numbers, Louisville still led the majority of the game, only to crumble down the stretch, both offensively and defensively.
Louisville was led by Deng Adel’s 21 points and Quentin Snider’s 15. Foul trouble limited Donovan Mitchell, as he finished with 8 points (3-14 and 1-7 from 3). The Cards had a lot of success inside all game, so the 21 threes taken is a mystery to me.
Up next: Louisville will return home earlier than expected and await their NCAA tournament draw on Sunday. The Cards have a lot to think about and work on before they’re shipped off for tournament play. Hopefully, today’s loss doesn’t remove them from the 2-seed line, but it’s a real possibility depending on how other conference tournaments play out.
A tough loss, in a bad way, to a good Duke team. Louisville will be fine, but there needs to be some change in how this team closes games. This is still a final four caliber team, so there’s no reason for the classic Louisville fan base freak overreaction to today’s loss.
Stay positive and as always, Go Cards!