Preview: Louisville prepares for rematch against Clemson

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Louisville men’s basketball continues its road trip Feb. 15 against Clemson after Georgia Tech snapped the Cardinals’ 10-game winning streak Wednesday. The Cardinals shot 34.8 percent from the field and struggled offensively against the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta.

Louisville (21-4 overall, 12-2 in the ACC) still sits a half-game ahead of Duke for first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference as the Cardinals look to respond from their first loss since Jan. 4.

“You don’t want to lose two in a row, ever,” junior Malik Williams said. “It’s about putting that behind us. We are still in the lead for the conference. It’s about getting that next win.”

Clemson (12-12 overall, 6-8 in the ACC) has lost three of its last five games, but defeated Pittsburgh on Wednesday. The Cardinals defeated Clemson 80-62 at the KFC Yum! Center Jan. 25, holding the Tigers’ leading scorer Aamir Simms to four points on 1 of 7 shooting from the field.

Louisville coach Chris Mack said his team did a good job against Simms in the first meeting. The junior forward averages 13.3 points and 7.2 rebounds.

“He is a guy that is more of a guard that plays a center position, so it draws Malik and Steve [Enoch] out to the floor,” Mack said. “He is a great passer and he shoots at a high level from three, so it draws centers out even more.”

Williams said the versatility Simms possesses forces Louisville forwards to defend in different ways. Williams and Enoch have to avoid slip cuts and screens that pull them away from the paint.

“He [Simms] keeps some handoffs, they do some weave actions,” Williams said. “He catches it and attacks immediately.”

Tevin Mack is Clemson’s second-leading scorer behind Simms, averaging 12.3 points as a 6-foot-6 forward. 

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