LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – You knew the kind of grind that University of Louisville interim basketball coach David Padgett expected in Sunday’s game against Boston College because at halftime, he came out without his tie.
This one wasn’t going to be easy. Boston College has wins over both Duke and Florida State. Even when the Cardinals went up by 13 early in the second half, Padgett was sweating it. He had good reason. Just over three minutes later, the Louisville lead was only five, and he was calling timeout.
But when Louisville extended its lead to 18 with 3:57 to play. You figured it was over. At least Louisville did. Even Padgett must’ve figured it was wrapped up. He took Ray Spalding and Deng Adel – who had scored 18 points in the second half on 6-7 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds – out of the game with 2:28 left.
But it wasn’t over. Boston College stormed back, mounting a 15-1 run over two minutes. Somehow, with 33 seconds to play, Louisville found itself leading by only two. But V.J. King hit a pair of free-throws, Louisville got a stop and, after free throws from Ryan McMahon and King emerged with a 77-69 victory before a crowd of 16,827 at the KFC Yum! Center.
It was Louisville’s fourth straight win and keeps the Cardinals all alone in second place in the Atlantic Coast Conference. It marks the third straight season the Cardinals have won four straight ACC games in January.
Louisville had all kinds of trouble with Boston College’s 2-3 zone. Their usual sources of offense couldn’t find an answer in the first half. Quentin Snider was 1-7 in the first half, V.J. King 0-5 and Deng Adel 0-3. Ryan McMahon came off the bench and went 0-2.
If not for freshman Jordan Nwora, who entered the game and scored 11 quick points in four minutes and a game-high 13 in the first half, and Malik Williams, who had six first-half points, the Cards might’ve been in trouble.
They came out of halftime and looked to be getting things in hand. But Boston College plays smart at both ends. Its zone is disciplined and active. On offense, it seeks isolations in its favor and exploits them, either by driving to the basket past big men or posting up smaller players.
But Louisville held Boston College to 36 percent shooting in the game while shooting 48 percent in the second half themselves. The Cards outrebounded Boston College 42-40 and finished with a 22-2 edge in bench scoring. The Cards went 23-31 from the line.
Adel led all scorers with 18 points. King and Nwora finished with 15. Williams finished with 10.
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