Louisville nar­rowly avoids an­other flop

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Sports -

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.

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