(WAVE) - Duke freshman center Mark Williams scored 23 points and pulled down 19 rebounds as the Blue Devils sent UofL home from the ACC Tournament with a 70-56 loss in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Wednesday night.
“I thought our post defense on him wasn’t bad,” UofL head coach Chris Mack said, “but our pick and roll coverage, which has been pretty good all year, and then our inability to keep him, he had seven offensive rebounds, you know a couple that land in his hands that I thought we had our hands on. He catches anything in that charge circle, he’s got a great touch, dunking the ball. He’s come a long way.”
Williams and Duke helped the Blue Devils jump out to a 27-13 lead. That’s when the Cards made their one run. A 16-0 spurt gave them a brief 29-27 lead.
Duke Matthew Hurt, who finished with 20 points, gave them a 30-29 halftime lead with a three.
A Williams tip in capped an 11-2 run to open the second half, and the Cards never got closer than seven.
“They treated this game like a championship and they competed for all 40,” UofL guard Carlik Jones said. “They came into the game locked in and you know we kind of played the game today in spurts.”
Jones finished with 13 points, five rebounds and three assists, but was just 5-14 from the field.
David Johnson had a team-high 14 points and also led the Cards with 11 rebounds.
UofL falls to 13-7 and is left to sweat out NCAA Selection Sunday.
“We played one of the hardest schedules,” Mack said. “We’ve been on two COVID pauses. If the NET includes margin of victory, two of our blowout losses were after we took multiple day pauses coming off COVID, on the road. So, it is what it is. You know I think we’re certainly capable of winning games in the NCAA Tournament, given the opportunity. I think we’ve done enough to earn it, but you know, I’m not in that room.”
The Cards lost 85-48 at Wisconsin and 99-45 at North Carolina after extended COVID pauses.
The field of 68 for the NCAA Tournament will be revealed at 6 p.m. on Sunday with the First Four games getting underway on Thursday in Indianapolis.