LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - #6 Louisville (16-3, 7-1 ACC) used a 15-2 run late in the second half to build a lead and then held on for a 68-64 win over Georgia Tech on Wednesday night in the KFC Yum! Center.
A Michael Devoe three-pointer gave the Yellow Jackets a 43-32 lead with 18:17 left to play. The Cards answered with the spurt.
A Fresh Kimble put UofL in front 54-52 and they extended the lead when Ryan McMahon found Malik Williams inside off a baseline out of bounds play.
Williams added a jump hook and McMahon a layup in transition to extend the lead, and then Steven Enoch grabbed an offensive rebound and laid it in, it was 63-54. McMahon sank two free throws for a 65-54 lead with 5:00 left.
Tech answered with a 10-0 run. James Banks slammed home two at 1:23 and it was 65-64 Cards.
The Yellow Jackets had the ball, down one, but Jose Alvarado’s baseline jumper missed and Moses Wright could not convert the offensive rebound. WIlliams grabbed the board and hit one of two free throws for a 66-64 UofL advantage.
Tech went for the win, Devoe’s three rattled off the rim with 8.3 seconds left, and it was Williams again, who cradled the rebound. This time, the junior sank both free throws for the final margin.
“Our defensive energy was completely different in the second half,” UofL head coach Chris Mack said. “You’re gonna ask me why and I’m gonna say I have no idea, and maybe it’s because everybody tells us for the last couple of days, hey great game, great game, man you guys are good, man that was awesome, all that crap and it’s funny how success can change your mindset sometimes and at some point I’ve got to get some older guys resembling being older.”
Devoe led all scorers with 21. Williams and Enoch led UofL with 13 each. Jordan Nwora and David Johnson added 10 apiece.
Georgia Tech falls to 8-11, 3-6 in the ACC, but all three of those wins have come on the road, including at North Carolina. Yellow Jackets head coach Josh Pastner was impressed with the Cards.
“I think they have a great chance and I’d actually be surprised if they don’t get to Atlanta,” Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner said. “I think they’re a very, very good basketball team and they’re very well coached. I think Coach Mack is one of the best coaches in the country, both offensively and defensively.”
The Final Four is in Atlanta on April 4.
The Cards host Clemson (10-8, 4-4) on Saturday at 2 p.m.