Louisville men’s basketball went blow-for-blow with No. 19/20 Miami on Saturday night, but couldn’t get over the hump in the second half of a 93-85 road loss.
The Cardinals (3-22, 1-13 ACC) led late in the first half and trimmed Miami’s lead to four with 4:47 to play before the Hurricanes pulled away.
Miami outscored Louisville 20-4 on points off turnovers and 19-11 on second-chance points.
“We knew it would be a tough game, but we were hoping we could come in here and defend them and make it tough for them,” UofL head coach Kenny Payne said. “… Defensively, we just didn’t bring the effort needed to beat a team like this – a team that’s really versatile, has good shooting, good post player and multiple scorers. The only way you beat a team like that is if you defend them.”
Louisville got a career-high 33 points from senior guard El Ellis, the most by a Cardinal since Jordan Nwora had 37 at Boston College on Jan. 29, 2020. Ellis made 12 of 20 shots from the field and all six of his free throws, while also handing out five assists.
Ellis is the first Louisville player to have at least 33 points and five assists in a game since Darrell Griffith against Iowa in the 1980 Final Four.
“I feel like lately I’ve been coming along and just going into the game trying to get my teammates involved first and looking for mine second,” Ellis said. “I felt like tonight it was one of those games where I let the game come to me, and when you do that, the rim gets even bigger.”
Miami (20-5, 11-4) had three players score more than 20 points, and the Hurricanes went 23 of 27 from the free-throw line to maintain a comfortable margin. They racked up 20 assists on 31 made baskets.
Miami opened the game with 10-0 run before Ellis countered with a pair of 3s.
The senior had 17 points in the first half, and the Cardinals took the lead for the first time after his back-to-back baskets.
That was part of a 9-0 Louisville run that led to a 36-33 advantage after a layup by redshirt junior forward Jae’Lyn Withers at the 4:00 mark.
Miami opened up a four-point lead in the final 30 seconds, but freshman forward Kamari Lands buried a 3 just before the buzzer to trim the Hurricanes’ advantage to 42-41.
The Hurricanes began the second half with an 8-2 run and claimed their largest lead of the game at 60-49 with 15:19 to go.
Ellis and the Cardinals didn’t go away, however. They cut the lead to six by the 11:59 mark and came as close as 74-70 with 4:47 remaining following two free throws by Ellis.
Miami scored the next five points, including a three-point play by Isaiah Wong on a putback, and the lead was never in jeopardy again.
Nijel Pack paced Miami with 22 points, while Wong and Norchad Omier each had 21.
Withers finished with 18 points on 4-of-6 shooting from deep for Louisville, and Lands added 13 points off the bench.
Louisville is back home this week for a pair of games, starting against No. 8/9 Virginia at 7 p.m. ET Wednesday. The game will air on ESPNU.