Virginia rallies, then blows late lead, in loss at #5 Louisville

UVA AthleticsVirginia wasted career games from Tomas Woldetensae and Kihei Clark, giving up a late lead to a game-closing 12-3 Louisville run in an 80-73 loss to the fifth-ranked Cardinals on Saturday.

Woldetensae scored a career-high 27 points for UVA (15-7, 7-5 ACC) on 10-of-13 shooting, including 7-of-10 from three-point range, but he didn’t get a shot after his three tied it at 68 with 3:32 to go.

Louisville coach Chris Mack was assessed a technical foul after the Woldentensae three, and Clark made the two free throws to give the ‘Hoos, down 14 at the half, a 70-68 lead.

A David Johnson jumper with 3:10 to go tied it.

Mamadi Diakite, fouled on a drive to the basket by Jordan Nwora, missed the front end of a 1-and-1, and Jay Huff was called for a foul on the rebound, so, worst-case there.

Steven Enoch, who ate Huff and sub Francisco Caffaro alive in the second half, made the two free throws to put the Cardinals on top.

Single free throws from Malik Williams and Johnson put the margin at 74-70. A Clark runner with 1:01 to go got Virginia back to within a bucket, but that would be the last make from the field for the Cavaliers.

After two free throws by Johnson with 40 seconds to go, Clark, shooting 86 percent from the line coming in, made one and missed one after being fouled on a drive to the hoop with 33 seconds left.

UVA, forced to foul, put Ryan McMahon on the line, and the senior, shooting 92.6 from the stripe coming in, drained both, to make it a five-point game.

Tony Bennett called a timeout, but the ensuing play didn’t go to Woldetensae, rather, to Diakite, from the right corner, for a three that was off-line.

Williams made two more free throws, and Diakite jacked up another off-line three, and that was it.

Diakite was 0-of-3 from the floor with the missed front end of the 1-and-1 in the final three minutes, and finished with 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting and just two rebounds.

Huff was also severely outplayed inside, finishing with four points on 2-of-5 shooting and five rebounds.

Louisville owned the boards, grabbing 31 rebounds to Virginia’s 19, and had a 15-4 advantage in second-chance points.

Virginia shot a season-best 53.1 percent from the floor (26-of-49) and a season-best 11-of-22 from three, going 8-of-15 from three in the second half.

Clark finished with a career-high 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor, and 4-of-6 from three, and had seven assists.

Clark and Diakite each played the entire 40 minutes, with Woldetensae logging 38, Braxton Key (a quiet seven points and four rebounds) getting 36, and Huff going 30.

Nwora led Louisville with 22 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including a 4-of-8 effort from three.

Enoch and Williams each added 13 for Louisville (21-3, 12-1 ACC).

The Cardinals shot 51.0 percent (25-of-49) from the floor and was 9-of-22 (40.9 percent) from three, but came back to earth after a meteoric first half, in which Louisville shot 60 percent.

In the second half, Louisville was just 7-of-19 (36.8 percent) from the floor and just 1-of-7 from three, but the zebras sent the Cardinals to the line 24 times in the final 20 minutes, which is helpful when you’re not able to make anything on your own.

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