CRAWFORD | Louisville keeps having big fun in little dance, poun - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Louisville keeps having big fun in little dance, pounds MTSU 84-68

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Ryan McMahon gives the bench a smile after making his fourth straight three in the second quarter. (WDRB photo by Eric Crawford) Ryan McMahon gives the bench a smile after making his fourth straight three in the second quarter. (WDRB photo by Eric Crawford)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – So, this is new. Anas Mahmoud with a motor, running the court-for put-back slams on the break and scrambling to save loose balls. Fans rollicking -- doing the wave -- in the lower bowl of the KFC Yum! Center. Ryan McMahon going Steph Curry with an extended three-point line.

We all know they probably would rather not have done this, but darned if the University of Louisville basketball players didn’t look like they were having fun in their second straight NIT win, a 84-68 victory over Middle Tennessee in front of a home crowd of better than 10,000.

I thought somebody was going to sprain an ankle on a flying chest bump. After making four straight threes in a four-minute span in the second quarter, McMahon was openly laughing, no offense to anyone, but come on.

Jordan Nwora comes off the bench and starts shooting darts. He winds up with 17 points and four threes. McMahon finishes with four threes and Louisville as a team made 11 of 21. When the NIT moved the line back in an experimental measure, it was supposed to make the shot harder. Instead, Louisville lived off it Sunday.

Public address announcer Sean Moth kept advising fans, "The NIT wants to hear what you think of its experimental changes, and gave a contact number." McMahon was dialing into it on the bench when he came out of the game.

Before the barrage, Ray Spalding established himself early, scoring 8 of Louisville’s first 10 points, and McMahon got it going late, making his four straight threes in a four-minute span to put the Cards up 15.

Spalding finished with 18 points, making 8 of 11 shots from the field. The Cards shot 53 percent from the field and 52 percent from three-point range. Louisville's offense was this good. MTSU shot 64 percent in the second half, and still lost by 16.

As the final seconds ticked off the clock, the crowd stood and screamed. The players smiled. And Louisville basketball keeps playing. The Cardinals will play host to Mississippi State on Tuesday night at 9 p.m. The winner advances to the NIT Finals in New York.

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