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Doomed by slow start, Cards fall 64-52 at Virginia

Virginia guard Armaan Franklin (4) drives the ball downcourt after a steal as Louisville...
Virginia guard Armaan Franklin (4) drives the ball downcourt after a steal as Louisville forward Jae'Lyn Withers (24) follows during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday Jan. 24, 2022, in Charlottesville, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)(Steve Helber | AP)
Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 10:07 PM EST
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(WAVE) - UofL fell behind 27-8 at Virginia on Monday night, and it was deficit that the Cards were never able to completely erase in a 64-52 loss.

“Proud of our guys to continue to fight, but we could never get over the hump,” UofL head coach Chris Mack said. “I think we cut it to five and four a few times, had a couple open looks from guys that we want shooting open looks, those go down then maybe it becomes a little more game pressure on Virginia, but we didn’t and then give them credit, they responded.”

Jarrod West led UofL with 14 points. His three-pointer with 14:35 left got the Cards within 43-37. They closed the gap to four at 45-41 when Malik Williams hit a turnaround jumper with 11:54 remaining.

Virginia answered with a 7-0 run. Kehei Clark drilled a three as the shot clock was winding down to make it 52-41 UVA with 7:51 left and the Cards never threatened again. Williams had 10 points and 6 rebounds.

“I think the start was pretty much the result of our lack of energy and effort to start the game defensively,” West said. “They were way too comfortable. They ran the offense that we prepared for, that we knew they were gonna run. They didn’t do anything different and we didn’t do a good job of executing defensively.”

Clark led Virginia with 15 points. UVA outrebounded the Cards 37-26.

The loss was the fifth in six games for UofL. The Cards fall to 11-9, 5-5 in the ACC. Virginia improves to 12-8, 6-4.

Mack says the message for his team is clear.

“A team that needs to improve quickly,” he said. “The schedule is back loaded, so that obviously is daunting, but at the same time you know we’ve got a bunch of days before we play on Saturday and we’ve got to keep our spirits up and we have to be able to get better over the next four days in order to compete against one of the better teams in the league.”

The Cards host #9 Duke (15-3, 5-2 ACC) on Saturday at 12 p.m. in the KFC Yum! Center.

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