Louisville narrowly avoids another flop
Five days after watching a
23-point second-half lead disappear, No. 16 Louisville found itself on the brink of another calamity Saturday.
The Cardinals beat visiting Clemson 56-55, but they led by seven with 17 seconds remaining, and the Tigers had two chances in the final seconds to walk off the court with a win.
Louisville snapped a two-game skid, but the final seconds stirred echoes of those games, including No. 2 Duke’s memorable comeback on Tuesday, in which the Cardinals
(18-8, 9-4 ACC) saw double-digit second-half leads evaporate. It was also reminiscent of Virginia’s miracle last March, when the Cavaliers scored five points in the final 0.9 seconds to beat the Cardinals.
“Down the stretch again, we have to figure out ways to close games better,” firstyear Louisville coach Chris Mack said. “I told our team mental errors and physical errors cannot be tolerated in winning time.”
Steven Enoch’s free throw gave Louisville a
56-49 lead. Marcquise Reed hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to four, and then the Tigers forced a held ball and a subsequent turnover that led to another 3 by Reed, making it a onepoint game with 3.5 seconds left.
After a Louisville timeout, Jordan Nwora tried to inbound the ball to Dwayne Sutton, who fell. The ball went right to Reed in the lane, but Nwora blocked his driving floater. John Newman III got the offensive rebound, but his fadeaway jumper missed just before time expired.
Elijah Thomas led the Tigers (15-10, 5-7) with 15 points.
Barrett’s triple threat:
RJ Barrett had Duke’s first triple-double in 13 years, finishing with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the second-ranked Blue Devils’ 94-78 victory over North Carolina State in Durham, N.C.
Zion Williamson scored
32 points on 12-of-16 shooting to help the Blue Devils
(23-2, 11-1 ACC) win their ninth straight.
Barrett became the first Duke player with a tripledouble since Shelden Williams in January 2006.