(Photo of Carlik Jones: Michael Clevinger - Atlantic Coast Conference Pool)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Facing their first real test in just the second game of the season, Louisville strung together some clutch plays down the stretch and relied on a touch of luck to hold off a late Seton Hall rally and escape with a 71-70 victory at the KFC Yum! Center.
Freshman forward JJ Traynor hit the go ahead putback layup with 19 seconds to go, then hit a pair of free throws to go up three after making a defensive stop down in the paint.
With just 0.7 seconds left, sophomore forward Quinn Slazinski fouled Takal Molson to send him to the line. The Pirates guard hit his first two, but missed the final one to secure the win for the Cardinals.
Louisville (2-0, 0-0 ACC) led by as much 11 with 8:24 to go, but Seton Hall mounted a 16-2 run to make it a game in the closing minutes. Outside the brief double-digit lead, neither team gave much ground throughout the contest as there were nine lead changes & ten ties.
Tied 38 at halftime, defense proved to be the difference maker for Louisville in the second half. The Cardinals held the Pirates (0-1, 0-0 BE) to just 8-33 shooting (24.2%) in the second half, and 33.3% for the game.
Once again, Carlik Jones had another spectacular performance. The graduate transfer guard from Radford notched his first double-double as a Card, finishing with 18 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, leading in all categories. Freshman forward Dre Davis & redshirt freshman Jae'Lyn Withers each had eleven points, with Slazinski tallying ten.
On the other side, Seton Hall forward/center Sandro Mamukelashvili set the tone for the Pirates. He finished with a game high 22 points, and helped Seton Hall give Louisville fits on the boards. The Cards were out-rebounded 43-41, and 16-8 on the offensive glass.
Unfortunately, both side were struck with injuries to playmakers. Louisville sophomore forward Samuell Williamson left early in the second half with a right toe injury, and did not return. Seton Hall graduate transfer guard Bryce Aiken suffered a right ankle sprain late in the first half and was also ruled out shortly thereafter.
Next up for Louisville, they will continue their five game home-stand to open up the season, taking on the Prairie View A&M Panthers at the KFC Yum! Center. Tipoff is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 29th at 6:00 p.m. EST on your Regional Sports Network.
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