Louisville men’s basketball couldn’t contain No. 7/6 Virginia defensively Saturday in a 75-60 road loss in the regular season finale.
The Cardinals (4-27, 2-18 ACC) allowed the Cavaliers to shoot 58% from the field, including 67% in the second half. Virginia recorded 25 assists on 29 made baskets.
“There’s a reason why Virginia is in the top 15 in the country and probably should be in the top 10, top five,” Louisville head coach Kenny Payne said. “Well-oiled machine, veteran players, connected to each other – evident by 25 assists, evident by 58%. They pretty much got anything they wanted. We seemed like we were a step behind everything defensively. The pace with which they run their offense was hard for us to deal with.”
Virginia (23-6, 15-5) used a 13-2 run in the first half to open a 26-10 lead at the 6:12 mark.
The Cavaliers led 36-20 at the break, holding the Cardinals to 33% shooting and scoring 12 points off UofL’s eight first-half turnovers.
Virginia eventually led by as much as 19 at 42-23 with 17:24 remaining. Louisville cut its deficit to 13 multiple times, but never got any closer.
Redshirt freshman guard/forward Mike James tied his career with 24 points, including the Cardinals’ last 15 of the game. Senior guard El Ellis added 14 points.
Jayden Gardner and Armaan Franklin each had 16 points to pace Virginia.
With the regular season behind them, the Cardinals will enter play in next week’s ACC Tournament as the No. 15 seed. They’ll face No. 10 seed Boston College in the opening round at 4:30 p.m. ET Tuesday in Greensboro, N.C.
“I think if we come out with that same mindset (as the second half) offensively, getting into the lane, sharing the ball, being aggressive, not being tentative, I think we’ll be good,” James said. “Obviously we’ve got to lock in defensively, but if we carry that same mindset offensively into Tuesday, we’ll have a good chance going into the tournament.”