Fortunately for the Cardinals, they looked pretty good in soundly beating Georgia Tech.
Jordan Nwora had 16 points and five of Louisville's 12 3-pointers, Anas Mahmoud added 12 points and Louisville added solid defense to rout the Yellow Jackets 77-54 Thursday night and end a losing streak that dropped the Cardinals into the middle of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
"It felt good to know that I could go in there and be that guy to help us win a game," said Nwora, who finished two points shy of his career best. "It was definitely satisfying and put us on a better track going into the Pitt game (Sunday) and increase everybody's morale."
Playing their third game in six days and without leading scorer Deng Adel (ankle injury), the Cardinals got contributions from just about everybody in breaking their slide. A 13-1 run over 3:50 in the first half provided a 24-8 lead and the advantage reached 24 with 4:40 remaining.
Louisville (17-8, 7-5 ACC) finished 27 of 54 from the field and 12 of 20 from behind the arc. The Cardinals also forced 20 turnovers for 21 points and dominated bench scoring 38-8.
Ray Spalding and Malik Williams each added 11 points as the Cardinals regulars provided balanced scoring and had 18 assists against just 10 turnovers.
"Me and Ray had to combine that defensive effort and get more rebounds because (Adel) wasn't out there," Mahmoud said after they combined for 11 boards. "It had to be a team effort to cover the gap, and I think we executed that well today."
Josh Okogie had 25 points and 10 rebounds for Georgia Tech (11-13, 4-7), which lost for sixth time in seven games.
"ZERO, ZERO, ZERO. ..."
Yellow Jackets coach Josh Pastner emphatically denied allegations of sexual assault and sexual battery by an Arizona couple in a lawsuit filed earlier Thursday .
"I'm an absolute victim in this whole deal," he said. "It's unfortunate, but I'll deal with it. ... But unequivocally, zero, zero, zero, zero, zero, zero truth to any of those disgusting, bogus allegations. It's disgusting."
Georgia Tech: The young Yellow Jackets started both halves promisingly but just couldn't keep up with Louisville. While they won the boards 36-32 and made 7 of 13 from long range, they also shot just 36 percent with the mistakes demonstrating how they struggled against Louisville's active defense.
"We did a really good job of keeping them off the glass, they only had five offensive rebounds and that was a key focus for us going in," Pastner said. "But 20 turnovers, that has just been an Achilles heel of ours all year long."
Jose Alvarado added 11 points.
Louisville: The Cardinals needed this one after consecutive close losses, playing solid all around to halt their slide. In the first half alone, they shut out Tech 17-0 in bench points and 13-1 off 10 turnovers. A starting lineup of Darius Perry, VJ King and Quentin Snider (seven assists) combined for 16 points and pushed a quick pace, while Nwora made 5 of 7 from long range. Spalding, despite playing on an injured ankle himself, Mahmoud and Williams controlled the paint.
"We played a lot more zone, (and) we haven't played zone hardly at all the last couple of games," interim coach David Padgett said after his team outscored Tech 28-22 in the paint. "We did a good job of talking, communicating, and keeping the ball out of the lane."
Georgia Tech: Hosts No. 9 Duke on Sunday.
Louisville: Visits Pittsburgh on Sunday.
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