LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Louisville’s win at Boston College might qualify as its strangest game of the season to date. The Cardinals were saddled with foul trouble. They fell behind by 7 in the opening minutes. They were outscored from the free-throw line and were outscored in the second half.
But in the midst of all that, they played some of their best basketball since returning from their long COVID-imposed layoff, and weren’t seriously threatened late in a 76-64 Atlantic Coast Conference road victory.
After a slow start, Louisville held BC without a field goal for seven minutes to end the first half, opening a 13-point lead that it stretched to 17 in the opening minutes of the second half. From then on, it did what it had to do against a team that has prided itself on second-half comebacks.
"I thought our guys were ready to play," U of L coach Chris Mack said. "I know the first three or four minutes of the game didn't appear that way, but you give Boston College credit. They hit a couple shots in the very beginning, and we missed a couple easy ones. But once we settled in, I thought defensively for the better part of the game we were really, really locked in to who could beat us."
"Our focus offensively was to try to get the ball into the paint," Mack added. "Boston College the last several games has used this 3-2 matchup (zone) ... We didn’t want to be a team that just sort of planted on the perimeter and shot 3s. But our 3s were generated from paint-touches, and those are the 3s we want to take ... and we took advantage of that.”
Louisville got its best performance of the season from sophomore David Johnson, who scored a career-high 20 points and went 4 of 5 from beyond the arc, while also pulling down 8 rebounds and drawing defensive assignments at varying times against Boston College’s top two scorers.
"He’s a better shooter than maybe he gets credit for," Mack said. "... The thing I liked was that he had only one turnover. He had a phenomenal game in all facets."
Carlik Jones added 15 points, a team-high 9 rebounds and 6 assists for the Cardinals. Quinn Slazinski, who played a season-high 27 minutes, had one of the game’s biggest shots: a 3-pointer after BC had trimmed its deficit from 17 to 7 with 10:36 left.
When the Eagles pulled within 7 again moments later, the Cardinals responded with 6 quick points, and BC never got closer than 8 the rest of the way. They got additional 3-pointers from Samuell Williamson, Josh Nickelberry, and Dre Davis, matching their season high with 8 3s as a team.
Davis finished with 11 points, and Williamson had 12 before fouling out. The Cardinals scored an emphatic 43-30 victory on the glass, behind guard rebounding.
"We didn’t take a million 3s," Mack said. "We took 17 of them, and those were generated by guys getting in the lane. It was good to see, and that’s going to help us."
The Cardinals improved to 7-1 with the win and return home for their next two games, against Virginia Tech on Wednesday and Georgia Tech next Saturday.
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