CRAWFORD | Depleted Louisville lapses in second half, falls 71-55 at Virginia
After losing a pair of key players to suspension, Louisville couldn't hold over Virginia after a spirited first half, losing 71-55.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WDRB) — You figured it was going to be a long night when University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino announced that he’d benched his No. 3 scorer and No. 2 rebounder for breaking curfew Saturday night.
With Deng Adel and Mangok Mathiang added to an unavailable list that already included injured point guards Quentin Snider and Tony Hicks, the numbers guys in Vegas doubled Virginia’s pointspread as favorites faster than you could roll a pair of dice. They probably didn’t juice it enough.
It’s not surprising, that the No. 4-ranked Cardinals lost to No. 12 Virginia for the fifth time in six games, 71-55 at John Paul Jones Arena Monday night. What was surprising was that it managed to score more points in the first half than Pitino’s past two Louisville teams, both of whom had a full complement of scholarship players.
The Cardinals worked the game plan well after a tough start, took a 7-point lead a couple of times in the first half, and led 34-32 at the half. The past two Louisville teams to visit Charlottesville managed just 27 first half points — total.
But Louisville began to fade in the final minutes of the first half. Virginia cut its deficit to two, then opened second half with a 16-3 run to take control.
Louisville, which was outrebounded 16-13 in the first half, took nearly five minutes to grab its first rebound in the second. It wound up being outrebounded 38-19 for the game.
Playing more because of Adel’s absence, V.J. King had his best offensive game as a Cardinal, finishing with 14 points on 8-14 shooting. The Cards also got 16 points from Donovan Mitchell.
That helped overcome one lost player, but the Cards needed a big night from Anas Mahmoud to help offset the loss of Mathiang, and Mahmoud couldn’t deliver. He went just 1-6 from the field and grabbed one rebound.
Nor did the Cards get much from the power forward spot. Jaylen Johnson and Ray Spaulding combined for seven points and five rebounds.
Louisville made just 6 of 24 shots in the second half, while Virginia shot 54 percent for the game.
The Cards get some time off before Saturday’s home game against Miami, when they could have three of their missing players back in the lineup.
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