February 16, 2019 / 7:34 PM / 6 months ago

Cunningham helps No. 16 Louisville hold off Clemson

EditorsNote: adds dropped word in fourth graf

Feb 16, 2019; Louisville, KY, USA; Clemson Tigers guard Marcquise Reed (2) shoots against Louisville Cardinals forward Jordan Nwora (33) during the first half at KFC Yum! Center. Louisville defeated Clemson 56-55. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Senior point guard Christen Cunningham scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half and added five assists to lead No. 16 Louisville to a 56-55 victory over visiting Clemson on Saturday in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

Sophomore Jordan Nwora added 11 points and three steals as the Cardinals (18-8, 9-4) won for just the second time in the past five games. Louisville rebounded from a 71-69 loss to Duke, a contest it led by 23 midway through the second half before collapsing.

Senior forward Elijah Thomas recorded 15 points and seven rebounds, and senior guard Marcquise Reed had 13 points on just 5-of-18 shooting while collecting 12 rebounds for Clemson (15-10, 5-7). Senior guard Shelton Mitchell added 12 points for the Tigers, who dropped their second straight game.

The Tigers appeared to be done when they trailed by eight with 35.5 seconds left but made a late dash. Mitchell hit a jumper and Reed buried 3-pointers with 9.3 and 3.5 seconds left as part of an 8-1 run to pull Clemson with one.

Nwora turned the ball over under his own basket on the inbounds play, with Reed picking up the ball and putting up a shot in the lane. Nwora blocked the shot, and Clemson freshman guard John Newman III got the rebound and missed the follow prior to time expiring.

Louisville prevailed despite shooting just 35.2 percent from the field, including 6 of 19 from 3-point range.

Clemson held a 42-29 rebounding edge but committed 19 turnovers. The Tigers connected on just 38.6 percent from the field and hit 6 of 13 from behind the arc.

Cunningham buried a 3-pointer to give the Cardinals a 48-41 lead with 3:40 remaining.

Thomas scored six straight points to pull the Tigers within one. But he missed two free throws with 1:17 left to keep Clemson behind and Nwora answered with a three-point play with 57.9 seconds left to give Louisville a 51-47 edge.

Sophomore center Malik Williams slammed home a dunk with 41.5 seconds left, and Cunningham added two free throws six seconds later before Clemson’s frantic rally.

Sophomore guard Clyde Trapp made a 3-pointer before time expired in the first half to give Clemson a 23-19 halftime advantage.

—Field Level Media

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