No. 18 Louisville got a career-best performance of 19 points and 11 rebounds from junior forward Ray Spalding and 21 points from junior wing Deng Adel to help the Cardinals beat visiting Nebraska-Omaha 87-78 Friday night at Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center.
The Cardinals (2-0) led for nearly 35 minutes against the Mavericks (0-4), but Omaha made Louisville sweat with its frenetic pace and quick lineup.
The Cardinals got 10 points and eight rebounds from senior center Anas Mahmoud. Senior guard Daniel Norl led Omaha with 16 points. Junior forward Zach Jackson scored 15 and sophomore guard KJ Robinson scored 14 for the Mavericks.
Louisville led 40-25 at the half led by Adel’s 10 first-half points. The Cardinals missed 8 of their 11 3-point attempts, but were so dominant in the post the poor shooting didn’t matter much. Louisville outscored Omaha 22-14 in the paint, and outrebounded the Mavericks 27-22. Louisville also blocked nine shots in the first half.
The Cardinals built a 51-31 lead early in the second half, but Omaha cut the lead to 54-46 with 14:53 left on a 3-pointer by Jackson. Louisville responded with a jumper by Adel and a pair of layups by Spalding to push the lead back to 14 at 60-46.
The Cardinals led by as many as 19 until a late push by the Mavericks cut Louisville’s lead to 71-64 with 5:43 left. Louisville closed out the win with hot shooting down the stretch, finishing the game shooting 46 percent from the field and 86 percent from the foul line (19 of 22).
Up next, Louisville will host Southern Illinois Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center.