Upset puts UNC back on its Heels
Louisville controls boards, rolls in bounce-back rout
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Louisville went from suffering a confidence-jarring loss against a long-struggling Atlantic Coast Conference program to handing Roy Williams his worst home loss in 16 seasons with North Carolina.
Tough to explain? Even the Hall of Famer had a hard time with that.
“We never really got into the game,” Williams said after Saturday’s 83-62 defeat to the Cardinals. “I’d like to give you a brilliant answer as to why, but I can’t give you that brilliant answer.”
It was as mystifying a performance from No. 12 UNC — which had started league play with two road wins — as it was a strong effort from Louisville following Wednesday’s overtime loss to Pittsburgh.
First-year coach Chris Mack said there was “some soul searching” after that setback, which snapped Pitt’s 23game losing streak in ACC regular-season games. The Panthers had lost by 25 points at home to the Tar Heels a few days earlier.
Louisville (11-5, 2-1) responded by strolling into Chapel Hill, jumping on UNC early and turning a 43-34 halftime lead into an unexpected rout.
“I’ve been around the game enough to know you can be humbled on any given night and then erase a bitter feeling a few nights later,” Mack said. “I don’t know how football coaches do it, they get one game a week.”
Connecticut transfer Steven Enoch had season highs of 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Cardinals, causing all kinds of matchup problems with his 6-foot-11 frame and strength to post up deep in the paint. Dwayne Sutton added 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists to flirt with a triple double, helping the Cardinals shoot 52 percent while hitting 11 3-pointers.
The Cardinals controlled the glass (40-31) against one of the nation’s best rebounding teams, keeping the Tar Heels from getting loose in transition (4 fast break points) with solid defense.
“Angry should be the motto for this team — playing angry and aggressive,” Enoch said. “That’s how it’s always been for Louisville basketball.”
Kenny Williams scored 12 points for the Tar Heels (12-4, 2-1), who spent most of Saturday looking like a team searching for something — anything — to build around. They shot 35 percent, including 3 of 22 on 3-pointers, and committed 11 second-half turnovers.
Louisville’s Steven Enoch registered season highs of 17 points and 11 rebounds in the Cardinals’ road victory over North Carolina.
North Carolina coach Roy Williams found his team’s 83-62 loss to Louisville hard to explain. “I’d like to give you a brilliant answer as to why, but I can’t give you that brilliant answer,” Williams said.