The defensive energy of the Tar Heels could be felt from that break. With a line-up of mainly reserves, they started catching Louisville on half of the field, forcing a jump-ball and a few bad shots. With Coby White in early dirty problems, first-year Leaky Black even got some early minutes on point guard.
But the cardinals were not too amazed and expanded their lead to 32-18 at the 7:57 mark – with a still excellent 13-18 shootout. UNC trailed no less than 15, but a Kenny Williams three cut the deficit to 10 and got the Smith Center crowd on its feet.
However, the Tar Heels could not get much closer than in the first half. They were left in peace 43-34, despite having held the Cardinals in the final 2:38 of the half scoreless. Louisville shot 18-33 in the first 20 minutes and, especially thanks to 6-foot-10 center Steven Enoch, claimed himself low with 20 points in the paint.
Out of the break, UNC quickly pulled back the deficit to seven with a Brooks bucket, but the Tar Heels came back soon with 15 and reached the biggest gap in the first half.
Uncontrolled sales and lethargy were very common insults to UNC, which was out of the rhythm for most of the day.
While the second half persisted, UNC exchanged with Louisville, but that was not good enough for UNC, which was left with double digits at the time.
To make matters worse, White suffered a clear wrist injury halfway though the second half after being slammed to the ground as he drove to the basket. Around the same time, Louisville led the lead to 19 points. Defensively, UNC struggled to guard on the 3-point line, but also struggled to defend without pollution, as Louisville took 24 free throws in the second half.
At no time could UNC compile a substantial run to worry the Cardinals, who were ready and ready to play after one of their worst losses of the season, a loss of 89-86 for Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Instead, UNC got a humiliating defeat after winning the first two conference games on the court.
Who stood out?
Enoch, a red shirt junior, participated in Saturday's game with an average of nine points per game. He beat that with 11 in the first half and finished with 17 points on 7-13 shootings. Louisville & # 39; s Dwayne Sutton (17) and Jordan Nwora (17) also scored in double digits.
Kenny Williams turned a team-high 12 points for UNC, and reserve second-year big man Brandon Huffman made a surprising first half appearance, scoring four points to keep it a one-digit game heading in halftime. Apart from the two, impact performance was not present for UNC.
When was it decided?
Louisville's lead was never really in doubt during the second half, but the visit to the squad by head coach Chris Mack almost certainly resulted in a victory with a 9-2 run and took a lead of 19 points, 66- 47, with just over eight minutes left.
Why does it matter?
For UNC, the loss is a reminder of how much they rely on the graduate guard Johnson and Maye. Saturday Maye and Johnson had days off and combined to shoot 6 out of 22 for 19 points. Nobody stepped up in a meaningful way to make up for the lost production that Maye and Johnson usually offer, with Brooks, White and Little in particular struggling to hit the offensive in a groove.
The loss also showed how often jump-shot-dependent UNC can be. UNC clearly struggled with its 3-point shootout on Saturday (it just made it 3-22 from the center) but it kept shooting.
When do they play the next?
The Tar Heels stay home to meet Notre Dame at the Smith Center on Tuesday at 9 o'clock in the morning. The Fighting Irish comes from a 69-66 victory at Boston College and goes into Wednesday's game with an 11-5 record. UNC went 2-0 against Notre Dame last season.
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