‘Hoo Tough: #22 Virginia outguts #10 Louisville, 57-54
A Kihei Clark three with 28 seconds left was the difference in another tight Virginia win, 57-54 over #10 Louisville on Saturday in JPJ.
The win was the eighth in a row and 11th in 12 games for the 22nd-ranked ‘Hoos (23-7, 15-5 ACC), and avenged the only loss in that stretch, an 80-73 setback at Louisville on Feb. 8.
Since that loss, Virginia has won seven games by three points or less, though for a long stretch it didn’t look like it would come down to another photo finish.
A Tomas Woldetensae three with 13:20 to go gave the Cavaliers their biggest lead of the game, at 43-29, and the margin was still 12, at 47-35, on a Braxton Key layup with 10:16 left.
But a Jordan Nwora three, off a Cardinals offensive rebound, ignited a torrid stretch in which Louisville hit 6-of-7 from the field, four of the makes threes, and this happened to coincide with a spot in which UVA only made one shot from the field, a Mamadi Diakite layup.
A Darius Perry three with 5:12 to go got the game back to square at 51-51.
As the world turns, Louisville (24-7, 15-5 ACC) would not score again until a meaningless three from Samuell Williamson with three-tenths of a second left.
Diakite hit the back end of a two-shot foul with 1:48 to go to put UVA back on top.
The teams traded empty possessions, and Clark, working off a Jay Huff high screen, found daylight on the right wing, and drained the open three, to put the Cavaliers up four, 55-51.
Perry missed from three on the other end, and then after Diakite missed the front end of a one-and-one, the Virginia D forced another miss on a Williamson three with seven seconds left.
Diakite banged in two free throws with 3.8 seconds left ahead of the meaningless three at the end.
Clark led UVA with 18 points on 5-of-12 shooting, including 2-of-3 from deep, along with five rebounds and five assists, against just two turnovers, in 38 minutes.
Diakite had 17 points and eight boards in 34 minutes, and fellow senior Braxton Key had six points, seven rebounds and four assists in 37 minutes, in their last games on the home floor at John Paul Jones Arena.
Huff had 11 points and five rebounds for Virginia.
Nwora had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead Louisville, but he was just 6-of-17 from the floor.
Steven Enoch had 11 points for the Cardinals, but none came after halftime.
Story by Chris Graham