LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)Louisville looked like it would cruise past Miami but ended up having to work hard in the closing minutes.
The end result was good enough for the 13th-ranked Cardinals.
Jordan Nwora scored 19 points including a critical layup with 5:21 remaining, and Darius Perry and Ryan McMahon followed with key baskets down the stretch to help Louisville pull away from Miami 74-58 on Tuesday night.
Louisville (12-3, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) bounced back from consecutive losses to ranked foes, at Kentucky and at home to Florida State.
”It feels really good to back in the win column, for sure,” Perry said.
But only after things nearly blew up.
The Cardinals led by 20 midway through the first half before the Hurricanes got within 11 at the break. Miami eventually whittled it down to 57-52 on Kameron McGusty’s two free throws with 5:37 left before Nwora’s layup provided a seven-point edge.
Perry sandwiched a three-point play and a layup around McMahon’s 3 to make it 65-54. Nwora added two free throws and Malik Williams added a three-point play with 42 seconds left to seal the win for the Cardinals. Nwora also grabbed 12 rebounds and had four assists, an all-around performance following his 32-point effort in the loss to FSU.
Steven Enoch had 12 points and 10 boards and Perry and Williams finished with 10 points each. Dwayne Sutton had 13 boards and nine points.
Louisville coach Chris Mack was happy Nwora had help.
”We need we need our older players, guys that are very experienced, we need them stepping up offensively,” Mack said. ”If we’re playing together, if we’re pushing the ball, if we’re moving the ball hard to half-court screening for one another and the ball gets reversed from side to side, we’ll get some good stuff.
”I think we did that in the first 15 minutes and maybe the last five. But we’ve got to be more consistent.”
McGusty and Chris Lykes had 18 points apiece for Miami (9-5, 1-3), which dropped its second in a row. The Hurricanes shot 28%, including 26% from long range, and were outrebounded 48-37.
”We got ourselves in a rush and didn’t make any passes,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said of the shooting. ”Came down the floor and shot quickly. I’m guessing we might have taken 12 to 15 shots like that. When we didn’t, we shot a good percentage.
”But when you go like 0-for-15 or 1-for-15 on shots and don’t make any passes, then it’s a problem.”
Before the game, Miami announced that senior forward Keith Stone will be out indefinitely with a left knee injury. The 6-foot-8, 244-pound Stone played in the past six contests and averaged 5.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 18 minutes.
Jordan has 49 points the past two games, a big turnaround from his eight-point effort at Kentucky. He said he got down on himself after that game. The social media reaction was fierce and included a threat on his life.
”There were some people telling me they loved me (one) day, but now I should be dead,” Jordan said. ”I had somebody message me to say, like, they wanted to kill me over a 15-dollar bet. If that’s what you’re worried about, you got more issues than worrying about me.”
Miami: The Hurricanes appeared headed to another blowout before perimeter shooting got them back into the game. They played at the same pace with Louisville for stretches but frequently missed shots that could have gotten them closer. They made eight 3s on 31 attempts.
Louisville: Though the Cardinals won most statistical areas – especially the paint (42-12) – it wasn’t until Perry’s three-point play that they took control. They even broke 40% shooting this time, hitting 45% from the field.
Louisville needed this win to avoid falling further in the rankings since being No. 1 just over a month ago. There’s still work ahead this week at Notre Dame.
Miami hosts Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Louisville visits Notre Dame on Saturday.
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