ACC Basketball

The Cardinals Survive Anteaters

On Thursday, the ACC teams just had to survive, so why should things be any different on Friday? Of course, when your opponent starts a guy standing 7-6, chances are nothing is going to be easy.

Struggling to score in the paint early, Louisville had just 16 points 14 minutes into the game, producing seven buckets, but a late 11-o that featured some sloppy ball handling by UC Irving and some nice dunks by the Cardinals, helped to build a small 30-28 halftime lead.

In the second, the Anteaters matched Louisville basket-for-basket until Wayne Blackshear nailed a three at the 11:51 mark that gave his team their largest second half lead, 44-39. Yet, they simply couldn’t pull away, eventually surrendering the lead with three and a half minutes to play before Blackshear again stepped up, putting in a layup and getting the “and one” to put Louisville back up two.

The Cardinals hero showed up a gain with just 43 seconds left, down two, he put in another layup on a drive to the rim to force a tie. On the other end, the Anteaters missed a three with 14 seconds to go. Quentin Snider chased down the rebound, but was trapped in the corner with two defenders surrounding him. Yet for reasons we’ll never know, instead of just standing his ground, UC Irving’s Luke Nelson rolled over Snider, giving the referee no choice but to call a foul.

Snider nailed two free throws to give Louisville the lead and IC Irving wasn’t even able to get a game-tying shot off as Terry Rozier pick-pocketed Alex Young to maintain the 57-55 win.

  • What can you say about Wayne Blackshear? All season he was the odd-man out when it came to shouldering the scoring load, just standing on the three-line taking jumpers. However, since Chris Jones’ dismissal, he has really inserted himself into the offense as a legit scoring option, willing to attack the rim for layups. Better yet, when Louisville needed a bucket tonight, he took it upon himself to get it. Sure he took a lot of shots (20), but six of his eight made baskets either got the Cardinals back to within one, tied the game or gave his team the lead back. He finished with a team high 10 points.
  • No surprise that Montrezl Harrell wasn’t much of a factor. The fact is, what could he do against the 7-6 Mamadou Ndiave, especially when the guys who actually play center (Mangok Mathiang and Chinanu Onuaku) contribute so little? Harrell finished with eights points on eight shots, grabbing four rebounds.
  • For the game, the Cardinals only hit 41.8% of their shots, 33.3% from deep and got to the FT line six times. However, they only turned it over nine times, forcing 14 and they held the Anteaters to 46.2% from the field.
  • Ndiaya managed to hit 6-9 from the floor for UC Irving, although he never got to the line and he grabbed just five rebounds. Will Davis II led the team with 14 points and nine rebounds, but he did have the game-deciding foul at the end.

Louisville advances and will face 5-seed Northern Iowa.

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