The Louisville Men’s Basketball team picked up an important 80-73 win on the road at Duke on Saturday night. Louisville improves to 13-5 overall and 8-4 in the ACC. Duke falls to 11-9 and 9-7. The Cards have now won three straight games overall against the Blue Devils and back-to-back games at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Carlik Jones led Louisville with 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Samuell Williamson added 14 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 assists. Jae’Lyn Withers added 16 points and 9 rebounds.
For Duke, Matthew Hurt led all scorers with 37 points and 7 rebounds. Wendell Moore Jr. added 13 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists. Louisville held Duke to just 44.8 percent shooting from the field and 19.0 percent from long range.
After trading buckets for the first 9 minutes of the game, Louisville ended the first half on a 19-9 run to take a 36-26 lead at halftime. Duke responded out of the break, using a 16-4 run to tie things up at 44 just before the under-4 timeout. The Blue Devils eventually took a 55-52 lead with 7:15 left on the clock before Louisville took it right back. The Cards led by as many as 5 points down the stretch, but were unable to win it in regulation. A Carlik Jones jumper at the buzzer rimmed out, sending the game to overtime. Duke did not make a field goal in the final 5:41 of the second half. Carlik scored 7 points in OT as Louisville pulled away for an 80-73 win.
— Louisville Basketball (@LouisvilleMBB) February 28, 2021
This was a huge win for Louisville. With two weeks to go until Selection Sunday, the Cards have a quad-1 win on the resume and should be safely in the NCAA Tournament field no matter how the remainder of the season plays out. Duke gave them every chance to win it in the first 40 minutes, but a slew of missed opportunities prevented the Cards from winning it outright in regulation.
It really turned into a defensive battle late in the second half, and the Cards put together an impressive performance on the other end against a red-hot Duke offense. Matthew Hurt had over half of Duke’s points, but he was not able to carry his team down the stretch. Louisville struggled to avoid fouls late, but largely shut down the Duke offense in the final minutes, and especially in overtime.
This was another complete team performance on Saturday night. Carlik Jones obviously is the engine that runs this Louisville offense, but plenty of other guys stepped up when needed. At this point, we should expect Samuell Williamson to be a major contributor. He has really turned a corner these last four games and looks every bit of what we expected him to be this season.
Withers looks comfortable playing alongside Malik Williams and is showing us plenty of reasons to be excited about him. Williams did leave the game early after re-aggravating the foot that has kept him out all season. We will have to wait and see with him. If Malik ends up being okay, it is clear that his presence on the court makes a real difference for the Cards. This team has not been at full strength once all season. If Louisville can manage to stay healthy, we have a glimpse of what they might be capable of over the next month.
It can not be understated how important this win was for Louisville. With two notable games next week, there is a real chance for the Cards to improve their resume and move up the seed line. Only time will tell, but it feels like this team is headed in the right direction. A little momentum can go a long way this time of the year.
Louisville stays on the road for a Wednesday night matchup with Virginia Tech at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.