Postgame Report: Louisville holds serve, beats Notre Dame 69-57
Win this one, and you stay above water. Lose this one, and you're on the outside looking in.
Louisville did what they needed to do, and handled a feisty Notre Dame squad in wire-to-wire fashion.
Let's break it down:
WHAT WE LEARNED:
- If necessary, Louisville can play big up front with Malik Williams back in the lineup. The Cards did that tonight, and it paid off in a major way. Louisville out-rebounded Notre Dame 45-30, and scored 18 points off of second chances. Without David Johnson, the Cards needed to dominate the glass, and that's what they did.
- Speaking of Malik Williams, the senior made his first start of the year, and looked much more comfortable than he did against North Carolina. Williams wasn't perfect by any means, but he grabbed 10 rebounds, and his movement is getting back to where it needs to be. Williams played 26 minutes tonight, so the conditioning is getting there.
- With Williams in the lineup, Jae'Lyn Withers was able to move to the four spot, his natural position. Withers showcased just how effective he can be playing as a stretch four, notching a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Withers proved he's capable of scoring from the outside, as he was 2-of-2 from deep.
Samuell Williamson. The sophomore didn't have the numbers that Carlik Jones and Jae'Lyn Withers did, but he made winning plays in the biggest moments.
He grabbed a pair of offensive rebounds late in the game, one that led to a Carlik Jones triple, and one that led to a Williamson mid-range jumper.
Huge props to Williamson for delivering a much-needed all around game.
WHAT IT MEANS:
This win keeps Louisville on the right side of the bubble. Louisville still has work to do, but the Cards stay safely in the tournament as of tonight.
Also with the win, Louisville moves ahead of North Carolina in the ACC standings, where they currently sit in fourth.
Looking ahead to Saturday, Louisville can essentially punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament with a win over Duke.
FULL BOX SCORE:
- With David Johnson unavailable, Carlik Jones played all 40 minutes, and did all of the ball handling. And he made clutch shot after clutch shot. Jones finished with 18 points, and did it efficiently, shooting 7-of-14 from the field.
- Dre Davis had a solid game, and led the team at +14 in 36 minutes of action.
- Louisville had five guys score in double figures, which is a recipe to win without one of your leading scorers.
- Defensively, Louisville held the Irish to 36 percent shooting. That's really strong against a team who can get hot the way Notre Dame can.