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Louisville Can't Overcome Slow Start, Fall at Virginia

The Cardinals opened up the game trailing 27-8 to the home Cavaliers.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - In need of a big win after a tough home loss to Notre Dame, the midseason slide by the Louisville men's basketball program - as well as their struggles against Virginia - continued to press onwards.

Traveling to John Paul Jones Arena, a place where they have not won since 1990, the Cardinals could not overcome an extremely slow start, falling to the Cavaliers 64-52 Monday

Not only does Louisville (11-9, 5-5 ACC) fall to 5-18 all-time against Virginia (12-8, 6-4 ACC) - including 2-13 since joining the ACC - but they suffer their fifth loss over the past six games.

The Cards shot just 37.5 percent from the field, while simultaneously allowing the Hoos to connect on 47.1 percent of their shots. Louisville also took just three free throw attempts to Virginia's 14, and were also out-rebounded 37-26.

Jarrod West led all Louisville scorers for the second game in a row, pouring in 14 points including 4-7 on threes. Matt Cross finished with 11, and Malik Williams had 10. Four Cavaliers had double figures, led by Kihei Clark's 15, and Reece Beekman had 11 assists - the most by an ACC player this season.

To say that Louisville started this game on the wrong foot would be an understatement. Virginia was able to get into lane and to free throw line with relative ease early on, whereas the Cardinals continued to shoot threes despite consistently missing. The Cavs were able to balloon their lead to as much as 19 in the first half.

Despite shooting 34.6 percent in the first half, including 4-15 on threes, and allowing Virginia to connect on 46.4 of their field goal attempts, Louisville showed some life on both ends of the court to end the first half. They ended the half shooting 5-8, forced the Hoos to go 1-6, and were able to trim their deficit to 35-23 at halftime.

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Louisville was able to take their late first half momentum, and use it to go on a run of their own. Unlike the first 15 minutes of the game, the Cards played with a much more noticeable energy and effort right out of halftime. Once down by 19, Louisville was able to trim their deficit to as little as four with just under 12 minutes to go.

But at that point, Louisville struggled immensely to get over the Virginia-sized hump. After getting it to a four-point game, the Cardinals then proceeded to connect on the four of their final 17 shot attempts. That was more than enough time for Virginia to get their act back together, finishing the game shooting 5-6 to ice the game.

Next up, Louisville will return home for a showdown against No. 9 ranked Duke. Tip-off against the Blue Devils is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 29 at 12:00 p.m. EST.

(Photo of Armaan Franklin, Dre Davis: Geoff Burke - USA TODAY Sports)

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