Louisville men’s basketball lost the rebounding and turnover battles to Duke on Monday night, falling 79-62 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The Cardinals (4-24, 2-15 ACC) were outscored 16-6 in second-chance points and 14-6 on points off turnovers, despite outshooting the Blue Devils from the field for most of the game.
“I thought we played one of the most talented teams in this conference,” UofL head coach Kenny Payne said. “Even though they’re young, they’re really talented. They have great length that bothered us. They shot the ball well and they got the ball in the paint. The one thing they did was they dominated us on the boards. … Disappointed in the way we came out and played. Thought we started out pretty good and put them on their heels. Then when they hit us back, we wilted and never got it back.”
Louisville opened the game with a 7-1 run and took its largest lead of the night at 18-9 on a basket by senior forward Sydney Curry at the 13:15 mark.
Senior guard El Ellis had 11 of his 21 points in the first five minutes of the game.
“Tonight was a really big game for me,” Ellis said. “I felt like I needed to come out and be calm and let the game come to me. But when the team went on a run, we didn’t respond well, and that’s what happens when you don’t come out ready to play.”
Duke (20-8, 11-6) scored 13 straight after Curry’s bucket and turned it into a 20-4 run to go up 29-22 with 6:11 to play. The Blue Devils led 42-33 at the break.
Duke had another 7-0 run early in the first half, and the Blue Devils eventually led by as much as 17 at 59-42 with 13:39 to go.
Louisville got it back to 10 five times in the final minutes, but never got any closer.
Ellis had seven assists to go with his 21 points. Junior forward JJ Traynor tied his career high of 16 points for the second straight game, making 4 of 5 from long range, and sophomore forward Brandon Huntley-Hatfield had nine points and five boards.
Jeremy Roach led five Duke players in double figures with 14 points. The Blue Devils had 19 assists on their 29 made baskets.
Louisville stays on the road to visit Georgia Tech at 2 p.m. ET Saturday in Atlanta. The game will air on Regional Sports Networks.