On Monday, Louisville’s Jordan Nwora was named the ACC’s Most Improved Player. On Wednesday he helped the seventh-seeded Cardinals advance to the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament with a 75-53 win over Notre Dame in Charlotte, N.C.
The 6-foot-7 sophomore scored 24 points, the 30th time he’s scored in double figures this season, to pace Louisville over 15th-seeded Irish. Nwora was 8-for-15 from the field, including three 3-pointers, and had nine rebounds. He scored 20 against the Irish during the regular season.
Louisville will play No. 2-seed North Carolina in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 7 p.m. It’s the third straight season the Cardinals have reached the quarterfinals.
The Cardinals (20-12) also got 12 points from Ryan McMahon and 10 points and seven rebounds from Steven Enoch.
Louisville’s defense was able to stymie Notre Dame’s John Mooney, limiting the center to seven points and 12 rebounds. Mooney had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the first-round win over Georgia Tech and scored 20 against the Cardinals in the regular season.
The Irish (14-19) were led by T.J. Gibbs with 21 points and Juwan Durham with 12 points.
Notre Dame’s Nate Laszewski started after taking a hard fall in the opening-round win over Georgia Tech on Tuesday. Laszewski played 23 minutes but failed to score.
Louisville did not allow Notre Dame to stay in the game for long. The Irish endured an 0-for-14 stretch from the floor in the first half, allowing Louisville to take control early. The Cardinals led 32-18 with 4:44 left.
But Louisville turned cold and failed to score over the final 4:05 of the half. Notre Dame scored the final five points of the half, the final field goal on Durham’s slam dunk, to cut their halftime deficit to 34-25.
Notre Dame cut the difference to seven points early in the second half before the Cardinals answered with 16-4 run to lead 52-33 on back-to-back 3-pointers from McMahon. Louisville later had an 8-0 run, capped by a McMahon 3-pointer, which gave the Cards a 60-38 lead with 12 minutes remaining.
—Field Level Media