Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition
Pack, ’Canes withstand lowly Louisville
Nijel Pack scored 22 points and No. 19 Miami beat Louisville 93-85 on Saturday night.
Five days following its dominant 22-point home win over Duke, Miami (20-5, 11-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) could not shake off the conference’s last-place team until Pack’s 3-pointer with 2:44 remaining made it 82-72. Pack shot 8 of 14, including 4 of 9 on 3-pointers.
Isaiah Wong and Norchad Omier finished with 21 points each and Jordan Miller added 10 for the Hurricanes, who are 14-0 at home.
El Ellis scored a career-high 33 points and had five assists while Jae’Lyn Withers finished with 18 for the Cardinals (3-22, 1-13).
The Hurricanes built doubledigit leads early in each half but Louisville responded and avoided the lopsided margins common of its season.
Bensley Joseph hit a 3-pointer 4:41 into the second half to put Miami ahead 60-49, but the Cardinals rallied and narrowed it to single digits.
Ellis’ two free with 4:47 remaining cut the gap to 74-70.
The Cardinals overcame a game-starting 10-0 deficit and took their first lead at 34-33 on Ellis’ jumper with 4:35 remaining in the first half. Withers’ lay-up capped a 9-0 run and made it 36-33.
After Ellis’ lay-up gave Louisville another three-point advantage at 38-35, Miami responded with seven unanswered points. Pack’s lay-up with 1:10 left ended the spurt before Kamari Lands’ 3-pointer with three seconds remaining got the Cardinals within 42-41 at halftime.
Home for the weekend: The Hurricanes’ first half of the conference schedule featured one weekend home game. But the contest against Louisville began a stretch of four consecutive Saturday home appearances at Watsco Center. Miami’s remaining conference home games — all on Saturday — will be against Wake Forest, Florida State and Pittsburgh.
Big picture: Miami: The victory secured the Hurricanes’ 12th 20-game winning season in school history. Eight of those seasons have in coach Jim Larrañaga’s tenure.
Up next: Miami: Visits North Carolina on Monday.