November 21, 2019 / 2:09 AM / 24 days ago

No. 2 Louisville holds off South Carolina Upstate

Nov 20, 2019; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals forward Dwayne Sutton (24) scrambles for a loose ball with USC Upstate Spartans guard Josh Aldrich (34) and guard Dalvin White (1) during the first half at KFC Yum! Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Faced with an unexpected challenge Wednesday night from South Carolina Upstate, No. 2 Louisville responded with a 20-3 run midway through the second half, turning a potential major upset into a 76-50 non-conference win on its home court.

Jordan Nwora scored a game-high 28 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the 5-0 Cardinals, while Ryan McMahon added 15 points, all on 5 of 8 3-point shooting. Louisville made 50.9 percent of its field goals and dominated the rebounding 40-22.

Bryson Mozone paced the Spartans (1-5) with 14 points, connecting on 4 of 7 3-point tries. Upstate largely struggled with shooting and rebounding but stayed competitive by making 9 of 24 shots from distance.

But nothing could help the Atlantic Sun Conference school hang with the Cardinals after it led 43-40 following a Nevin Zink foul shot with 14:07 left in the game. Nwora’s foul shots with 12:22 remaining gave Louisville the lead for good at 45-43.

McMahon added two 3-pointers to the run, while Darius Perry checked in with a third. Samuell Williamson finished the spurt with a transition dunk at the 6:06 mark for a 60-46 advantage.

USC Upstate made the first hit, starting the game with a 3-pointer from Tommy Bruner and maintaining the lead for nearly six minutes before Louisville finally took a 10-8 edge at the 13:42 mark as McMahon stroked a 3-ball off an offensive rebound.

Nwora’s layup with 9:28 remaining in the half gave the Cardinals their first double-figure lead at 21-10. The margin was still 10 after a Williamson bucket with 8:05 left, but the Spartans answered back with a late spurt.

A 12-5 burst, capped by a layup from Zink with 2:38 remaining, pulled the visitors within 28-25. Louisville scored the next six points, but Upstate stole momentum going into the half when Mozone hit a 3-pointer with two seconds left to cut its deficit to 34-28 at intermission.

—Field Level Media

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