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Louisville's Second Half Rally Falls Short at Clemson

The Cardinals' losing streak now stands at six games despite a career night from Tre White.
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CLEMSON, S.C. - Heading down to the Palmetto State for a late night showdown against Clemson, the Louisville men's basketball program was nearly able to mount a second half road comeback, but eventually fell 70-64 Tuesday at Littlejohn Coliseum.

Trailing by 24 with 12:55 left, the Cardinals (6-15, 1-9 ACC) were able to get the deficit down to six with only 3:35 remaining. A pair of buckets from the Tigers' (14-6, 4-5 ACC) P.J. Hall temporarily got their lead back up to double figures, but a quick 6-0 run from Louisville made it just a four-point game with 29 seconds left.

However, they were unable to force any late turnovers, and Clemson was able to ice the game in the waning seconds at the free throw line.

Louisville's losing streak now sits at six consecutive, with five of those losses coming by double digits. Louisville has lost 12 of their last 14 contests since opening up the season at 4-3.

Under second-year head coach Kenny Payne, Louisville is now 3-27 in the ACC and 10-43 overall, with 29 of their losses coming by double digits.

Already having been dealt a pair of season-ending injuries, part of the recipe for the blowout loss were two more impactful injuries to the Cardinals. Ty-Laur Johnson was ruled out due to an ankle injury, while Skyy Clark had to exit early in the second half after taking a knee to the head.

Additionally, Louisville received suboptimal play from most who did see playing time. Offensively, the Cardinals shot just 34.4 percent from the field including a 2-for-20 mark on three-point attempts, turned the ball over 16 times and posted just four assists, not logging their first assist of the game until the 11:52 mark of the second half.

Their defense wasn't much better, either, allowing Clemson to shoot 43.1 percent and 5-of-21 on threes. The one area where Louisville was proficient was on the boards, out-rebounding the Tigers 48-to-29 for the game and 21-to-4 on offensive rebounds.

Most of Louisville's offense came courtesy of Tre White, who finished with a career-high 29 points on 11-of-20 shooting and career-high 14 rebounds. The rest of the Cardinals shot just 11-of-44 from the field, with no one else cracking double figures.

Louisville could not get many open looks to start the game against Clemson, leading to one of their worst shooting halves of the Kenny Payne era. Not only did they shoot 8-for-33 during the period, this included a paltry 0-for-11 mark on three-point attempts. The Cardinals also coughed the ball up eight times with zero assists in the half.

The only thing keeping them within striking distance of Clemson throughout most of the half, despite an 11-for-22 shooting half by their hosts, was a domination on the backboards. Louisville out-rebounded the Tigers 22-to-14 in the first half, including 11-to-0 on offensive boards to give them eight second chance points.

Even still, Clemson went into the locker room with momentum clearly on their side. They ended the half on a 8-0 run, handing Louisville a 34-22 halftime deficit to try and climb back from.

Based on the early happenings of the second half, Louisville seemed like they were trending towards another beatdown. Clemson scored nine of the first 10 points after halftime, and opened up the second half on a 21-9 run to swell their lead to two dozen.

The main reason that the Cardinals were able to mount a second half comeback attempt was almost solely because of White. He scored 21 points in the second half alone, which was half of their total points scored in the period.

However, their shooting went cold at the worst possible time. After making six field goals in a row to even get to just a six point deficit with three-and-a-half minutes left, Louisville then proceeded to miss their next seven shots, and hit just eight of their final 11 attempts.

Next up, Louisville will return home for a matchup against Florida State. Tip-off against the Seminoles is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 3 at 8:00 p.m. EST.

(Photo of Tre White: Jared Anderson - Louisville Report)

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