The Louisville Cardinals lost their third straight road game on Monday night in a 82-67 defeat at Florida State. Louisville drops to 23-6 overall and 14-4 in the ACC. Florida State improves to 24-4 and is tied atop the ACC at 14-3.
Ryan McMahon led Louisville with 14 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist. David Johnson finished with 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. Jordan Nwora scored 11 points, all in the first half, and grabbed 8 rebounds. As a team, the Cards shot 42.4 percent from the field and only 23.5 percent from three.
For Florida State, it was a group effort with five different players scoring between 11 and 16 points. The Seminoles won the rebound battle 36-29. As a team, FSU shot 50.9 percent from the field and 31.3 percent from three-point range. They shot nearly 60 percent from inside the arc.
The game started out on a bad note for Louisville as Malik Williams picked up an ankle injury within a couple minutes and missed the remainder of the game. In spite of foul trouble and an undersized lineup, Louisville led 40-32 at the half. Out of the break, Louisville took an 11 point lead early and held that double digit lead as late as the 14:28 mark.
Louisville went the ensuing nine plus minutes without hitting a field goal and Florida State used a 15-0 run to take its first lead of the game. From there Louisville could only cut it to four and the Noles ultimately ran away with it in the final minutes. Florida State outscored Louisville 42-16 to close the game. Louisville shot 1-12 from three-point range in the second half. The Cards had 2 assists with 7 turnovers and committed 16 fouls in the final 20 minutes.
This was pretty much a nightmare game for Louisville in every way. They were impressive in the first half and really responded well given the injury to Malik. In the final 15 minutes of the game, Florida State took complete advantage of Louisville’s undersized guards and brought out the full court press that was successful last season in this game. Louisville got some bad fouls called on them and it seemed to get in their heads while the game was very much still in reach. Bad shots and turnovers ensued as FSU dominated Louisville in the home stretch.
The physicality and vocal leadership of Malik Williams was sorely missed in this game. The status of his injury is unknown, but if he is ruled out for an extended period of time it will be a huge blow to this squad.
Florida State is a program that has played Louisville as well as anyone in recent years. You would like to think that this matchup combined with some bad luck can mean that this performance will be an outlier. The complete submission that we saw from Louisville in the second half is concerning, though. It’s on them to come back from this.
More importantly, this almost entirely eliminates the possibility that Louisville can earn the 1-seed in the ACC tournament, and therefore avoiding Duke and FSU until the championship game. The resume is already shaky at best. Louisville lost a quad-1 game tonight, but they will now have the chance to potentially pick two such wins in Greensboro. That means there could be three quad-1 wins over the next two weeks before selection Sunday. Time to move on.
Louisville heads back home for a Sunday night matchup with Virginia Tech at 6:00 p.m. on ACC Network.