No. 16 Louisville is no match for No. 11 Virginia in ACC showdown
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Not only was No. 11 Virginia's defense highly effective at disrupting Louisville, its offense at times couldn't seem to miss a shot.
Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett couldn't help but like how both came together again for perhaps their biggest road victory this season.
Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill each scored 13 points and Virginia routed No. 16 Louisville 63-47 on Saturday for its fourth straight win.
The Cavaliers (17-4, 6-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) needed no late-game heroics after rallying from 10 points down in the final 1:23 and winning 72-71 at Wake Forest Tuesday on Darius Thompson's 3-pointer at the buzzer. They were simply thorough defending and shooting the ball, holding the Cardinals to season lows in shooting (33 percent) and points nearly a year after beating them 52-47 last year in Charlottesville.
The Cavaliers also shot 58 percent from the field.
"We were complete on both ends of the floor," Bennett said after his team's second road win this week.
Louisville (17-4, 6-2 ACC) committed 18 turnovers in having its four-game winning streak snapped. Reserves Ray Spalding and Deng Adel each scored 12 points for the Cardinals, who often trailed by 20 points until the final minutes. Leading scorers Damion Lee and Trey Lewis combined for just 10 points.
"Unfortunately, I saw this day coming," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said of his team's performance. "I'm not too pleased with it, but I saw it was going to happen. Not quite as bad as the way we played tonight but I did see it coming, just by the way we played defense against Virginia Tech.
"We turned the ball over too much and you can't do that against a Virginia team."
Especially not one that played defense just as tough as Louisville and made that area a central theme in this nationally televised matchup between the ACC's two stingiest units. All of it belonged to Virginia as it held the Cardinals under 30 percent until late in the game.
A sea of white-clad fans didn't seem to affect the Cavaliers. Virginia began 5 of 9 from the field, including two 3-pointers, en route to making 57 percent in the first half alone. Brogdon looked especially comfortable, making several soft jumpers set up by good ball movement.
The senior guard kept it up in the second half, answering the Cardinals' few spurts with another basket that maintained Virginia's momentum and handed Louisville its worst loss at the KFC Yum! Center.
"We were able to keep them quiet, keep them out of the game," Brogdon said of the crowd. "That was definitely good for us. I was still nervous this game but I was ready to play."
Even better was the Cavaliers' scrappy defense, which disrupted the Cardinals on nearly every possession and held their duo of Lee and Lewis scoreless through 20 minutes. Forward Chinanu Onuaku didn't practice on Thursday because of illness and didn't start and he wasn't a factor with one point.
Pitino delivered on his promise of wearing a white suit for the program's annual "White-Out" promotion but shunned basketball shoes like Bennett in favor of matching white loafers. The Cardinals donned their alternate "White Ice" uniforms with short-sleeves and their names in white and warmups with short sleeves and hoodies. Louisville fell to 6-4 in the promotion with Pitino wearing a white suit in eight of those games.
Virginia: The Cavaliers' margin of victory was their largest on the road against a ranked team since they beat No. 24 Georgia Tech 83-60 on Feb. 22, 1995. ... Brogdon's string of three consecutive 20-point efforts ended, a span in which he averaged 23 points per contest. ... The Cavaliers improved to 3-4 on the road and 7-4 all-time against Louisville.
Louisville: The Cardinals' first-half scoring was a season low. ... Anas Mahmoud started at center for the first time since Dec. 12 vs. Eastern Michigan. ... Among the 21,714 was six-time All-Star Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays, who was the featured guest at Friday's leadoff dinner for Louisville's baseball program.
Virginia: Hosts Boston College on Wednesday.
Louisville: Hosts No. 2 North Carolina on Monday.