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Louisville looks to stay hot in ACC play vs. Pittsburgh

Sportsnaut
Dec 29, 2021; Louisville, Kentucky, USA;  Louisville Cardinals forward Sydney Curry (21) challenges the shot of Wake Forest Demon Deacons guard Cameron Hildreth (2) during the second half at KFC Yum! Center. Louisville defeated Wake Forest 73-69. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 29, 2021; Louisville, Kentucky, USA; Louisville Cardinals forward Sydney Curry (21) challenges the shot of Wake Forest Demon Deacons guard Cameron Hildreth (2) during the second half at KFC Yum! Center. Louisville defeated Wake Forest 73-69. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Louisville’s unbeaten mark in Atlantic Coast Conference play is on the line Wednesday night when it hosts Pittsburgh.

The Cardinals (9-4, 3-0) are coming off a 67-64 win at Georgia Tech on Sunday.

Malik Williams posted a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Matt Cross added 13 and nine, respectively. Dre Davis scored all 13 of his points in the second half, including a three-point play with 9:16 remaining that gave the Cardinals a 50-49 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

“I’m certainly pleased, but far from satisfied. In some ways, I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t play better tonight, but like how can you be disappointed in a win? We just have to be able to learn from it,” Louisville coach Chris Mack said. “We have to be able to get better over the next week, two weeks, three weeks, and continue marching forward. I think our team understands the defensive end is where we’re better at right now. We got a lot of work to do on the offensive end.”

Louisville is led by Noah Locke’s 11.0 points per game, while Williams is second in scoring (10.8) and leads the team in rebounding (8.7). Jarrod West averages team-high totals in assists (3.8) and steals (2.0) to go along with 6.8 points per game.

While Louisville’s three league wins — against NC State, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech — have been by a combined 12 points, Pitt (5-8, 0-2) has dropped both of its ACC games by a combined two points.

Virginia’s Jayden Gardner hit a last-second putback off a missed 3-pointer for a 57-56 win over the Panthers on Dec. 3. Notre Dame’s Prentiss Hubb made a 10-foot jumper with seven seconds remaining, with Pitt’s Jamarius Burton missing a well-guarded layup as time expired in the Fighting Irish’s 68-67 win on Dec. 28.

Hughley leads the team in points (14.8) and rebounding (7.9) per game, while Femi Odukale (12.4) and Burton (11.5) are the only other Panthers who average in double figures in scoring.

“You have to have the confidence that we are good, and we can win,” Hugley said. “I’ve told our guys I think we can win every game we play. I think we can lose every game we play, that’s the line. We have to understand the things that are necessary for us to win these kinds of games. Then you have to do it every possession, and that’s difficult. That’s why winning is hard at any level, especially in our league.”

–Field Level Media