MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Louisville, whose only remaining goal is to win the ACC regular-season title as a result of its self-imposed postseason ban, hosts Miami in a key conference matchup on Saturday afternoon.
The 11th-ranked Hurricanes and Cardinals are tied for second place one game behind North Carolina.
The Cardinals won 67-60 on Wednesday at Pittsburgh despite foul trouble that forced coach Rick Pitino to use lineups that included junior guard David Levitch, who equaled his ACC season scoring total with eight points and hit a late go-ahead 3-pointer, and freshman guard Jay Henderson, who was appearing in only his 11th game.
“We had an odd lineup in at the end of the half and we all had to stick together,” Levitch told reporters after the win.
Miami rode the hot shooting of Davon Reed (21 points, including 5-of-6 on 3-pointers) to bounce back from its humbling 25-point loss at North Carolina with a 64-61 home win over No. 3 Virginia on Monday.
“What I liked so much about (Reed’s) game tonight is that he looked very much calm,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga told reporters after the game. “You know, I thought on Saturday (against North Carolina) our team looked very anxious to do well rather than cool, calm and collected. Tonight, I thought we were very calm.”
ABOUT LOUISVILLE (22-6, 11-4 ACC): Freshman forward Deng Adel (4.1 points per game), who started in place of injured power forward Raymond Spalding (bruised shoulder) against Pitt, has provided a needed boost over the past three games, averaging 12.3 points and 6.3 rebounds. The backcourt trio of Drexel transfer Damion Lee (16.6 points), Cleveland State transfer Trey Lewis (11.7) and sophomore Quentin Lewis (9.5, 3.7 assists) are the team’s biggest scoring threats and also fuel Pitino’s pressure defense. Steadily improving sophomore center Chinanu Onuaku (9.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 57 blocks) anchors the inside on both ends of the floor.
ABOUT MIAMI (22-5, 11-4): Senior shooting guard Sheldon McClellan (team-leading 15.7 points) leads ACC guards in shooting percentage (51.2) but has struggled over the past few games while playing on a sprained ankle. While most opposing defenses focus on McClellan, senior point guard Angel Rodriguez (11.3 points, 4.3 assists) and sixth man Ja’Quan Newton (10.3), Reed (10.9) is also a dangerous threat as the Cavaliers found out. Senior 7-footer Tonye Jekiri (8.1, 9.3 rebounds) is a defensive presence but faces a big challenge against Onuaku.
- Pitino is 5-0 in games against Miami – 4-0 at Louisville and 1-0 while coaching at Providence.
- Miami is one of only five teams – Kansas, Xavier, Oklahoma and Texas are the others – with nine or more wins against teams in the top 50 of ESPN’s BPI ratings.
- Lee faced Miami last year while playing for Drexel and was limited to six points in 37 minutes in a loss.
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