Louisville entered Wednesday night’s game in the midst of its most promising stretch of basketball all season. The ensuing performance was hardly a great one, but the Cardinals extended their win streak to nine games with a comeback 86-76 victory over the Demon Deacons at the KFC Yum! Center. Louisville is now 20-3 overall with a 11-1 record in the ACC. Wake Forest falls to 10-12 and 3-9.
Jordan Nwora led Louisville with 21 points and 7 rebounds on 5-8 from three point range. Dwayne Sutton finished with 15 points and 11 boards. Fresh Kimble added 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. The Cards shot 48 percent from the field and made a season high 14 three-pointers on 28 attempts.
Andrien White led Wake Forest with 17 points and 6 rebounds. Olivier Sarr scored 16 points with 6 rebounds. Brandon Childress finished with 14 points and 4 assists.
Louisville struggled offensively out of the gate, but it was the scoring performance of Wake Forest that was noteworthy in the first half. Wake shot 50 percent from the field on its way to a 12-point halftime lead. The Demon Deacons led by as many as 15 points in the first 20 minutes. Brandon Childress had scored 10 points at the break with 2 assists. Andrien White went 3-5 from three, good for 9 points and 3 rebounds in the first period.
Out of the break, Louisville showed up in a big way. Wake extended its lead to 49-35 early on. From there, the Cards went on a 20-2 run to take their first lead of the half. Louisville did not trail during the remainder of the game. The lead got as high as 9 points and the Cards pulled away for a fairly comfortable win.
This was not an encouraging performance from the Louisville Cardinals in the first 20 minutes. Wake Forest was red hot from the field, but they were the more hungry team altogether and it showed on the scoreboard. It looked like Louisville took this team lightly and were surprised to find themselves trailing by so much. Out of the break, things clearly changed and Louisville ran away with it against an inferior opponent.
You hope that the first half was a case of Louisville playing down to its opponent. In the end, the Cards got the lead back early in the second half and cruised from there. This team has played a stretch of games against similarly weaker teams. That will change with Virginia coming to town this upcoming weekend. It’s been three weeks since Louisville played a team as good as UVA. We can only hope they learned from this one and can bring the intensity for a full 40 minutes going forward.
Louisville hosts Virginia on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. on ESPN.