Louisville fell to 10-4 and 5-3 on Wednesday night with an ugly 54-50 loss at Clemson. The Tigers snapped their three game losing streak to improve to 10-4 and 4-4. Louisville has yet to win on the road at Clemson since joining the ACC.
Carlik Jones led Louisville with 11 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Jae’Lyn Withers had 7 points and 12 rebounds. The Cards shot just 31.6 percent from the field and 20.8 percent from three.
For Clemson, Aamir Simms led all scorers with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Al-Amir Dawes added 15 points and 3 assists. Clemson only shot 35.8 percent from the field and 20.0 percent from long range.
Neither team was able to score much in the first half. Louisville trailed 11-5 early on but came back and held a lead throughout the majority of the final five minutes to take a 22-21 lead into halftime. JJ Traynor led all Cards with 6 first half points.
Out of the break, things picked up a little and Louisville led 31-29 at the under-16 timeout. From there, things stalled significantly and Louisville scored just six points in the next 11 minutes. The Cards trailed 43-37 when Chris Mack called a timeout with 4:20 on the clock. Clemson extended its lead to 49-41 with just under 3 minutes on the clock. The Cards were able to make a few buckets down the stretch but it was not enough to overcome their earlier offensive struggles.
The writing has been on the wall for this Louisville offense all season. It is entirely too reliant on Jones and Johnson. They just do not have a third option that can make plays with the ball in their hands. Clemson is probably the best defense in the ACC not named Virginia, so this was a bit expected. Still, Chris Mack has got to figure something out, because the schedule this next month is brutal.
To be clear, this is not a bad loss by any means. Clemson has beaten plenty of good teams and was ranked just a couple of weeks ago. It was the performance that should worry you if you area Louisville fan. Simply put, Louisville has to be better scoring the basketball. Even with Malik Williams coming back, it probably does not change much for this offense. Teams are going to crowd the paint and make you beat them at the three-point line. So far, Louisville has shown nothing to make us think they can do that. The Cards will still win plenty more games this season, but their ceiling will be severely limited if things do not change.
Louisville is at home on Monday afternoon (2/1) against Georgia Tech at 2:00 p.m. on ACC Network