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Hoosiers use 2nd-half charge to rally past Louisville 68-67

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Romeo Langford scored 21 points and Juwan Morgan added 15 Saturday to help Indiana rally for a 68-67 victory over Louisville.

The Hoosiers (8-2, 2-0 Big Ten) have won three straight overall and snapped a four-game losing streak in the series. They needed a late 8-3 run to take control and two free throws from Langford with 2.2 seconds left to seal it.

Jordan Nwora finished with a career-high 24 points as the Cardinals (6-3) had a three-game winning streak end. Christen Cunningham added 16 points including a 3-pointer from near midcourt as the buzzer sounded.

Louisville led most of the game and never trailed until Rob Phinisee made a 3-pointer with 8:36 to go.

It didn’t last long. The Cardinals retook a 50-49 lead when Nwora made a 3 on the ensuing possession but gave it right back when Morgan completed a 3-point play with 7:48 left.

Langford followed that with two free throws to make it 54-50.

Then, on a day the Cardinals shot just 34.5 percent from the field in the second half, they stormed back.

After Nwora’s 3, Ryan McMahon scored on a cutting layup to give Louisville a 55-54 lead with 4:14 to go. The Cardinals retook the lead twice more, the last coming on Cunningham’s two free throws with 1:37 left.

But the Hoosiers allowed only one basket after taking a 63-58 lead.

BIG PICTURE

Louisville: The Cardinals appeared to be on the verge of cracking the Top 25. But a dismal second half dropped them to 1-5 all-time in Bloomington and will likely force them to wait at least another week.

Indiana: It hasn’t been pretty but the Hoosiers have strung three straight wins over power-conference teams — all by one or two points. It should force voters to take note and should be enough to get Indiana into the rankings.

Tuesday’s Things to Know: Duke’s Destruction Tour resumes against Indiana, Louisville knocks off No. 9 Michigan State and No. 13 Virginia Tech goes down

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The Big Ten/ACC Challenge rolled on Tuesday night, delivering a couple upsets, a dominant performance and few really entertaining contests. Here’s everything you need to know to catch up on the night’s action.

DUKE CONTINUES DESTRUCTION TOUR BY THROTTLING INDIANA

The undefeated dream is dead, but Duke’s inevitable tear through the winter continued Tuesday with an absolute 90-69 thrashing of Indiana at Cameron Indoor.

Indiana got a dose of what only Gonzaga could handle and other teams are sure to be infected with as the season moves along as the Hoosiers simply had no answer for an overwhelming Blue Devils teams. The talent, athleticism and uncanny cohesion for a group so young so early is just going to be too much for just about everybody in the ACC. Duke shot 52.4 percent from the floor, bottled up Indiana defensively and were just all-around dominant. The Hoosiers had no chance. 

Zion WIlliamson had 25 points, six rebounds, four assists and his customary OH MY GOODNESS dunk of the night. R.J. Barrett scored 22 and had nine rebounds while Cam Reddish had 13 points and Tre Jones (who sort of quietly is becoming the engine of this team) put up a cool 15/5/8 without a turnover in 32 minutes. There’s just no way for almost any team to compete with those four. The fact they’ve got Marques Bolden, Jack White and Javin DeLaurier for Coach K to mix and match with, that’s just unfair.

They might get beat again this year, but don’t let these beatdowns, which are sure to be often, let you lose sight of what an entertaining and special group they’ve got in Durham.

 

LOUISVILLE FELLS NO. 9 MICHIGAN STATE

It had been a bit of a difficult week or so for Louisville. The Cardinals lost to a top-10 Tennessee team and then fell in overtime to Marquette, both at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. While the trio of wins to open the season were nice, Chris Mack didn’t come to Louisville to beat Nicholls State, Southern and Vermont.

Things got considerably more sweet Tuesday.

Louisville outplays No. 9 Michigan State for large swaths of action, and then outlasted the Spartans in overtime, 82-78, at the KFC Yum! Center. The Spartans were a little short handed, sure, and their most-important player struggled, yeah, but it was the first signature win of the Mack era, a top-10 victory at home.

 

PENN STATE GETS NO. 13 VIRGINIA TECH

It had been 20 years since Penn State won a non-conference game at home against a ranked opponent, but Myreon Jones’ 18 points helped put an end to that streak.

The Nittany Lions nipped the 13th-ranked Hokies, 63-62, to claim their first win against a Power 5 opponent this season. Virginia Tech shot 10 of 19 from 3-point range and forced 16 Penn State turnovers, but it wasn’t enough.

 

NO. 14 IOWA AND NO. 22 WISCONSIN SURVIVE

Both the Hawkeyes and Badgers welcomed unranked teams to their home arenas as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, and both had to sweat out wins down the stretch. Iowa beat Pitt, 69-68, and Wisconsin defeated NC State, 79-75.

Iowa got 18 points and 11 rebounds from freshman Joe Wieskamp while Jordan Bohannon had 12 points and six steals. Xavier Johnson scored 18 for the Panthers, who committed 17 turnovers.

Ethan Happ continued his strong play to start the season, going for 19 points, 11 rebounds and three assists, while D’Mitrik Trice had 18 points and six assists. Brad Davison, well, he drew five charges.

 

Louisville outlasts No. 9 Michigan State in OT, 82-78

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Joshua Langford has been mostly awesome for Michigan State. The 6-foot-5 junior entered Tuesday night averaging 17.5 points while shooting 51.3 percent from the floor and a scintillating 47.5 percent from 3-point range. Just over the weekend, he put 29 points on Texas while making 5 of 6 shots from distance. He was our Player of the Week.

For Michigan State to be great this year, like win the Big Ten and compete for a national title great, that’s what they need from the former five-star prospect.

He was decidedly not that against Louisville, and Michigan State took its second L of the season.

The ninth-ranked Spartans lost to Cardinals in overtime, 82-78, at the KFC Yum! Center on Tuesday with Langford suffering through an inconsistent evening, and the Spartans struggling to overcome it with Matt McQuaid back in East Lansing with injury and star point guard Cassius Winston battling foul trouble.

Langford missed seven of his first eight shots from the floor before briefly catching fire before the end of regulation, but it wasn’t enough. He finished with 15 points, making 5 of 14 from the floor to go along with four rebounds, two assists and an ugly four turnovers.

One of those turnovers came in inexplicable fashion at near the end of regulation when Michigan State led by one. Langford corralled a defensive rebound with 24 seconds left, dribbled down the sideline…and then simply threw the ball away. Louisville took possession, made a free throw and got the game to OT, where they outscored the Spartans 15-11. Let’s not even mention the fact he didn’t hit the rim on an intentionally-missed free throw in OT. That would just be piling on.

Now, this loss doesn’t simply belong to Langford. Winston fouled out with 4 minutes left in regulation after going 3 of 11 from the floor, though he did have six assists and two steals. The Spartans were without McQuaid, who has a thigh injury. The committed 17 turnovers as a group.

It was a game, though, that just showed how desperately Michigan State needs Langford to be excellent to max out their season. Duke’s Marques Bolden is the only player from the Class of 2016 that was ranked higher than Langford and still in school, as noted by Rob Dauster in yesterday’s Overreaction podcast. Langford hasn’t totally lived up to top-20 expectations, but it’s clear the talent is there. Just look what he did against Texas.

For Michigan State to move back into the nation’s elite tier of teams this season, a level of the likes of Kansas, Duke and Gonzaga, it’ll have to include a great Langford. Winston is one of the country’s best assistmen, Nick Ward is a load to deal with on both ends of the floor, McQuaid is deep threat, the Spartans have a talented supporting cast and that Tom Izzo guy on the bench. If they’ve got a dynamic two-way wing that can take over games, that could put them over the top in suddenly very-good looking Big Ten, and nudge about against the country’s best teams.

Langford has been mostly that this season, but he wasn’t against the Cardinals and it cost Michigan State.

 

No. 5 Tennessee tops Louisville in NIT Season Tip-Off

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NEW YORK — Grant Williams scored 24 points and No. 5 Tennessee had five players In double figures to beat Louisville 92-81 in the first semifinal of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Wednesday night.

Admiral Schofield added 20 points for the Vols (4-0), who shot 54 percent from the field. The win was the 664th of Tennessee coach Rick Barnes’ career. It moved him past John Wooden on the all-time Division I wins list.

“It means I’ve been around a while,” Barnes said.

Trailing 77-70 with 6:51 left, Louisville coach Chris Mack got called for a technical foul when he didn’t like an over-the-back call on Dwayne Sutton. The Cardinals could never recover, trailing by as many as 15.

“I complained during the game, so I’m not going to again complain now,” Mack said. “I thought when Dwayne got the ball it was completely clean. It’s basketball. I shouldn’t have received the technical. That’s my fault. It’ll be the last one of this year.”

Jordan Nwora had 23 points and 10 assists to lead Louisville (3-1).

The second game of the doubleheader was No. 2 Kansas against Marquette.

Tuesday’s Things To Know: Badgers return to form, futures of Georgetown and Illinois on display and Izundu’s big night for Miami

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There were only two top-25 teams in action Tuesday night, but there was still plenty of solid hoops action around the country with rematches, youth vs. youth and sterling individual performances. Here’s everything you need to know about what went down.

1. Wisconsin resurgent

The 2017-18 season was as disappointing as any for Wisconsin in some time. The Badgers were under .500, missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in 20 years and were just generally uncompetitive in the Big Ten after years of consistently being one of its best programs. Given how Greg Gard inherited the program, that made this season an important one in Madison.

The Badgers look to understand that.

Wisconsin got 30 points from Ethan Happ, 22 from D’Mitrik Trice and 19 from Brad Davidson, who added a little flavor to the victory. The issues last year for Wisconsin were many, but so often the main problem was Happ being left to do everything himself. If the Badgers can consistently get help around Happ – while he continues to reassert himself as one of the country’s best players – Wisconsin should be back in the NCAA tournament and pushing for a spot atop the Big Ten. There’s a long way to go and Wisconsin finishes off November with a difficult slate of games, but the early returns are positive for Gard and Co.

2. Georgetown beats Illinois in fun battle of two young teams

I don’t know that either Georgetown or Illinois will be all that good this season. In fact, I would venture to guess neither is all that great once we hit the middle of winter. They did, however, play a super entertaining game Tuesday night.

Georgetown outlasted the Illini, 88-80, in Champaign as part of the Gavitt Games in a back-and-forth game that featured fun, mistakes, highlight plays, more mistakes, breathless action and, yup, some additional mistakes. Still, it was apparent that both teams have young talent that can take them places, whether it’s this year or in the future.

The Hoyas’ starting backcourt of freshmen James Akinjo and Mac McClung combined to score 31 points and dish out 11 assists while making game-winning plays down the stretch. On the flip side, they also tallied a combined eight turnovers. There was good and bad from the two youngsters, but the positive well outweighed the negative and the potential of both was on major display. Patrick Ewing looks to have this thing pointed in the right direction in D.C.

For Illinois, it was Chicago product Ayo Dosunmu starring. The point guard put up 25 points on 9 of 15 shooting, including 3 of 4 form deep. He was electric and at times unstoppable. Fellow freshman Giorgi Bezhanishvili had 12 points, five boards and four assists. Brad Underwood’s four non-senior starters combined for 17 of the Illini’s points on the night while sophomore reserve Da’Monte Williams had 11 of those points. The future look good for Brad Underwood, too.

3. Izundu puts up numbers, Louisville impresses, Mays throws down and Temple knocks off Georgia

Ebuka Izundu had a night that’s not often seen. The Miami big man went for 22 points and 17 rebounds while shooting 11 of 13 from the floor. It was just the 13th time since 2010 that someone put up at least 22 and 17 while shooting 84 percent or better from the floor. So that’s pretty good. So, too, was the Hurricanes’ 96-58 win over Stephen F. Austin to improve to 3-0 on the season.

Louisville wasn’t all that good in Chris Mack’s debut, but the Cardinal looked significantly stronger Tuesday in a 1014-54 win over Southern. Jordan Nwora scored 20 points off the bench, and Louisville shot 58.2 percent from the floor as a team.

LSU defeated Memphis, 85-76, but more importantly, the 22nd-ranked Tigers got 19 points and one thunderous dunk from Skylar Mays.

Georgia shot 50 percent from the floor, but turned it over 20 times and lost to Temple in Philadelphia. The story, though, was the Owls’ duo of Quinton Rose and Shizz Alston, Jr., who both tallied 25 points as they improved to 3-0 in what will be coach Fran Dunphy’s final season leading them.

Nwora, Williams power Louisville easily past Southern 104-54

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The second act of Louisville’s Chris Mack era produced the same outcome as the first, but this time the Cardinals came away with a much better showing.

Jordan Nwora scored a career-high 20 points as the Cardinals (2-0) easily dominated Southern 104-54 Tuesday night. Malik Williams also posted a career high of 17 points in the rout.

After Nicholls State stayed close with Louisville in last week’s season opener, Mack used the practices to toughen up his players in preparation for a schedule that includes eight games against teams ranked in the AP’s preseason top 10. Mack saw improvement on both sides of the court as the Cardinals shot 58.2 percent and forced 23 turnovers.

“The three practices that we had leading up to tonight really set the tone,” he said. “I really think you earn the right to win and you earn your victories in practice because that’s who you become on game night.”

Southern coach Sean Woods said he noticed a marked difference from the team he observed in game film.

“Handling pressure, making shots, executing high-low situations, so I tip my hat off to coach Mack because he’s been working on getting his guys better,” Woods said.

One of the players Mack wanted to see improve was Nwora. The sophomore forward came off the bench and scored 15 points in the first half. He provided an immediate spark, scoring a layup off a Jaguars turnover just two seconds after checking in. He later got frontcourt steals on consecutive possessions that he turned into back-to-back dunks, the latter of which made it 21-9 with 11:32 remaining.

Louisville kept pulling away throughout the game, leading by as many as 53 points in the final minute. Mack used 13 players, with none playing more than 22 minutes. A dozen Cardinals ended up scoring.

“After the last game, I don’t think a lot of people were happy with our performance, especially not the coaches,” said Nwora, who made 7-of-11 shots. “We just had to get better, and that’s the way he woke us up. Just having some drills in practice that really brought out the toughness in some guys.”

Aaron Ray led the Jaguars (0-3) with 14 points and eight rebounds.

BIG PICTURE

Southern: Facing its third major conference foe in a week, the Jaguars again struggled as they shot just 39.1 percent. They also had a hard time keeping up with bigger, more athletic Cardinals. By halftime, Southern committed 21 fouls, with two players picking up four each. The Jaguars finished getting whistled for 39 fouls. Three players fouled out, with four more drawing four each.

Louisville: The Cardinals looked much more at ease Tuesday after struggling in their season opener. In addition to the practices, it may have been due to the size advantage Louisville enjoyed over the Jaguars, who did not start anyone taller than 6-foot-7. Louisville outrebounded Southern 37-22 and enjoyed a 38-20 scoring advantage in the paint.

LOCKER ROOM CLOSED

Prior to the game, Louisville announced its locker room would be closed for postgame interviews, per Mack’s decision. The program had been one of the few to allow locker room access during the regular season. The NCAA maintains an open locker room policy during the March tournament.

AGAU RETURNS

Tuesday marked the return of Akoy Agau to the Cardinals. The graduate transfer from Southern Methodist played 22 games for the Cardinals before leaving the program in late 2014 to play for Georgetown. The 6-foot-8 forward scored seven points and tied Nwora with a team-high seven rebounds against the Jaguars.

UP NEXT

Southern travels to Fairfax, Va., for a Saturday game at George Mason as part of the Emerald Coast Classic.

Louisville concludes a three-game, season-opening homestand on Friday when it hosts Vermont.