Kihei Clark scored 18 points and No. 22 Virginia extended its winning streak to eight with a 57-54 victory over No. 10 Louisville on Saturday in Atlantic Coast Conference action in Charlottesville, Va.
The Cardinals blew a chance to claim a share of their first ACC regular season title since joining the league in 2014.
Virginia (23-7, 15-5) has won 11 of its last 12 games. Louisville (24-7, 15-5) dropped its fourth straight road game and posted its lowest point total of the season.
The Cavaliers, who led by 14 points with 13 minutes left, improved to 9-2 this season in games decided by four or fewer points.
Jordan Nwora had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Steven Enoch added 11 points for Louisville.
It was Senior Day for Virginia starters Mamadi Diakite and Braxton Key, who helped the Cavaliers win the school’s first national championship 11 months ago. Diakite had 17 points and Key had six points, seven rebounds and four assists. Jay Huff scored 11.
The Cavaliers opened the second half with a 12-5 run. Tomas Woldetensae, who hit seven 3-pointers in a Feb. 8 loss at Louisville, gave Virginia its largest lead at 43-29 with a triple.
The Cardinals responded with a 22-8 spurt to knot the score at 51 with five minutes left. After a stretch of 10 straight Louisville points by Nwora, Ryan McMahon and Darius Perry sank back-to-back treys.
Diakite’s free throw put Virginia up 52-51 with 1:48 remaining. Clark made a 3-pointer with 31 seconds left, and Diakite hit two more free throws with 3.8 seconds left for Virginia’s final points.
The Cardinals were scoreless for the last five minutes until Samuell Williamson made a 3-pointer before the final buzzer.
Virginia improved to 18-0 this season when leading at halftime.
The Cardinals canned four consecutive 3-pointers during an early 14-2 run, the last two by Nwora to put Louisville ahead 16-8 midway through the first half.
The Cavaliers tied it at 20 on a rare five-point possession at the 5:56 mark. Huff converted a three-point play and Clark made two free throws after a technical foul against Louisville coach Chris Mack.
Virginia closed with an 11-2 run to lead 31-24 at halftime, limiting the Cardinals to just one field goal over the last five minutes.
—Field Level Media