No. 12 Virginia upsets No. 6 Louisville 61-53 (Dec 28, 2016)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Everything had clicked on both ends for No. 12 Virginia before an extended lull threatened to blow its big lead on No. 6 Louisville.
Two crucial rebounds led to the key basket that righted the Cavaliers toward another victory over the Cardinals.
Devon Hall scored 10 points and Kyle Guy added a key jumper with 2:02 remaining as Virginia withstood a late rally to upset Louisville 61-53 on Wednesday night in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.
The Cavaliers (11-1, 1-0) seemed headed to another lopsided win over Louisville before the Cardinals rallied from a 21-point second-half deficit to get within 57-48 with 3:51 left. Hall grabbed a defensive rebound a minute later and Isaiah Wilkins' offensive board extended the possession leading to Guy's basket that regained momentum for Virginia.
Mamadi Diakite added two free throws with 28 seconds left to seal its fourth straight win overall and fourth in five games against Louisville (11-2, 0-1) since the Cardinals joined the ACC.
Guy and London Perrantes had nine points each.
''We needed that lead. We were leaking oil,'' said Virginia coach Tony Bennett, whose team beat its highest-ranked opponent this season. ''We got a little bit confused defensively. . You could just see, they started coming.
''I'm glad it was a 40-minute game because we did not finish it strong or in the right way. But we did it the right way for the majority of it, 30 or 33 minutes.''
Hall made 5 of 10 from the field and had six rebounds for the Cavaliers, whose strong shooting built the big lead before they cooled off slightly to finish at 49 percent (24 of 49). Jack Salt had seven rebounds as Virginia outrebounded the Cardinals 31-26.
Quentin Snider, Deng Adel and Tony Hicks had eight points each for Louisville, which had won six straight and sought to follow up last week's win over rival Kentucky .
THE BIG PICTURE
Virginia: The Cavaliers' defense succeeded as expected, forcing 11 first-half turnovers alone for 12 points while denying the Cardinals good looks throughout. Making it better was a solid offensive start that built a double-digit lead less than 4 minutes in and was hitting 56 percent at one point after halftime. Balance was key as 9 of 10 players had at least one basket and 8 of 10 had at least one rebound that were needed down the stretch.
''Our team is collective,'' Bennett added. ''If that's not a team win - if how we play isn't a group thing - then I don't know what is. We're balanced.''
Louisville: The Cardinals aren't used to playing from behind and had to work hard to cut down a big deficit. But the Cardinals couldn't get the baskets they needed at key moments and finished at 43 percent from the field. Their first assist came in the second half and they had just seven overall.
''They played their game,'' forward Jaylen Johnson said. ''Their game plan was to stop the open shots and let no one have open looks. Every shot, they were there.''
Precarious as things looked during Virginia's cold stretch, Hall said the Cavaliers weren't nervous.
''I try not to get too rattled,'' he added. ''This a game of runs and we know this is a good team. This is the ACC we're playing in.''
Virginia improved to 9-4 against the Cardinals, including 5-3 in Louisville. The Cardinals meanwhile failed to have a player reach double digits in scoring for the first time since a 69-48 loss at Marquette on March 2, 2010.
''Virginia seems to be our Kryptonite,'' Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. ''We just don't play well against them.''
Virginia's mastery of Louisville continued with a win that could push the Cavaliers closer to the Top 10. Louisville's game Saturday against No. 16 Indiana might determine whether it stays in the Top 10 or falls out.
Virginia: Hosts No. 20 Florida State on Saturday in its ACC home opener.
Louisville: Ends non-conference play on Saturday against No. 16 Indiana in Indianapolis.
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