Louisville ahead Jordan Nwora (33) battles George Mason guard Jaire Grayer (5) for the ball throughout the second half of an NCAA faculty basketball recreation, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. (Timothy D. Easley/Associated Press)
By Gary B. Graves | AP By Gary B. Graves | AP November 12 at eight:00 PM
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville’s want for a raise towards George Mason led Darius Perry and Jordan Nwora to place apart freshman nerves and contribute.
The duo responded with poise and clutch baskets that rallied the No. 16 Cardinals as they began a brand new part with out longtime coach Rick Pitino.
Deng Adel had 20 factors, whereas Perry and Nwora mixed for 22 within the second half to steer Louisville previous George Mason 72-61 on Sunday and win David Padgett’s debut because the Cardinals’ interim coach.
“We’ve been transitioning,” 7-foot senior Anas Mahmoud mentioned of not seeing Pitino on the sideline. “We understand we don’t have coach P on the sideline, but we also realize coach Padgett is more than capable in leading us where we need to go.”
Coming again took quite a bit for Louisville, which appeared tentative for almost 30 minutes in its first common season contest since Pitino was fired final month within the wake of a nationwide federal investigation of corruption in faculty basketball . Even when the Cardinals edged forward 49-46 with 9:13 remaining, they weren’t in a position to achieve room towards the decided Patriots till the ultimate minutes.
Louisville shot 70 p.c from the sector and from lengthy vary within the second half to earn a hard-fought win. The end result allowed an admittedly nervous Padgett to take a deep breath — for now— because the Cardinals formally started transferring ahead from the investigation.
“I was anxious. I think our guys had some nerves too,” the previous badistant mentioned. “I’m glad it’s out of the way now. More importantly, we’re 1-0.”
Credit Perry and Nwora for displaying resolve when the Cardinals wanted it.
The Cardinals shot 29 p.c within the first half and trailed 46-40 with 12 minutes left earlier than senior Quentin Snider scored 4 factors and Adel added a basket to tie the sport. Nwora then made a left-corner Three-pointer earlier than Perry adopted from lengthy vary for a 52-49 edge.
Nwora later made two extra from behind the arc whereas Adel, a junior, added one for a 66-59 Louisville lead with 1:52 left.
Perry and Nwora made all six of their mixed photographs. Perry scored 12 of his 17 factors after halftime, whereas Nwora was Three-for-Three from lengthy vary for 10 factors. Adel in the meantime went 9 of 17 from the sector to badist the Cardinals win earlier than 18,304.
“My first minute I was like, shaking a little bit,” Nwora mentioned. “But then I was alright. Then, in the second half I just focused on defense. Once I did that, the offense just came to me.”
Jaire Grayer had 20 factors and Justin Kier 18 for George Mason (1-1), which led 46-45 with 11 minutes remaining earlier than Louisville took management.
“I thought we played with quite a bit of composure,” George Mason Dave Paulsen mentioned. “Our guys battled. To only give up seven offensive rebounds to that group is really great. (If) we had a couple open looks to go down, a couple free throws to go down and it might be a different result.”
George Mason: The Patriots pushed the tempo all through and weren’t afraid to problem the taller Cardinals inside. Perimeter capturing was their greatest power (eight of 27 from lengthy vary), however they struggled to maintain tempo as soon as Louisville began making photographs to grab momentum. Ian Boyd had 12 factors.
Louisville: The Cardinals moved the ball effectively and had beauty within the first half, however photographs simply weren’t falling. They turned considerably tentative after that and it seemed like Adel must carry the offense. That’s when Perry and Nwora contributed, with Nwora’s 3s coming each time they wanted a lift. Louisville’s 14-of-20 capturing, together with 7 of 10 from Three-point vary, after halftime was large. It additionally gained the rebounding battle, 36-31.
“We just started making shots,” mentioned Perry, who was Three-of-Three from lengthy vary whereas making all eight free throws. “We were getting good looks, doing what we were supposed to do. Playing inside to out. Shooting shots we were supposed to be taking. They started dropping and that’s what really changed it.”
Perry’s 17 factors have been the fifth-highest complete for a Louisville freshman debut. It additionally matched Padgett’s complete in his Cardinals debut on Dec. Three, 2005, after he transferred from Kansas.
George Mason hosts Binghamton in Atlantic 10 Conference play Thursday in its opening recreation of the Cancun Challenge.
Louisville hosts Nebraska-Omaha on Friday within the first badembly between the faculties. It’s the second of 4 dwelling video games to open the season earlier than the Cardinals face Purdue within the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
For extra AP faculty basketball protection: https://collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials will not be revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.