'Didn't come ready': Louisville hands UNC worst home loss under Williams

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North Carolina's Luke Maye and Garrison Brooks (15) guard Louisville's Jordan Nwora (33) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. Louisville won 83-62. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

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APTOPIX Louisville North Carolina Basketball-1

Sports Writer

Saturday, January 12, 2019

CHAPEL HILL — Louisville men’s basketball coach Chris Mack earned an important Atlantic Coast Conference road win on Saturday as the first-year coach is now three games into navigating his way through the tough conference for the first time.

Mack’s Cardinals thumped a flat North Carolina squad, 83-62, in a game that was never close. Fans streamed toward the exit well before the 21-point defeat was final, likely not wishing to witness the most lopsided home loss for the Tar Heels in coach Roy Williams’ 16 seasons.

The previous worst home defeat came in 2013, when the Tar Heels lost to Duke by 16 points.

“We just didn’t play. That’s the perfect example of the ACC. One game you don’t play and they’re on you like that,” said UNC guard Kenny Williams, who led his team with 12 points. “That’s all it is. We didn't come ready to play, they jumped out on us early and they never looked back. … We kind of got what we deserved.”

Louisville (11-5, 2-1) enjoyed a strong shooting effort throughout, making 52-percent of its shots (28-for-54) while also finding success from range in connecting on 11-of-26 3-pointers. From the opening tip, Louisville played aggressive and confident on both ends of the floor.

The first seven Louisville shots went in, including four 3-pointers, as the Cardinals’ lead grew to as many as 15 points in the first half. Dwayne Sutton, Jordan Nwora and Steven Enoch each scored 17 points, and Nwora made 5 of 8 3-point attempts.

By the time the first five minutes had elapsed in the first half, the Tar Heels (12-4, 2-1) trailed 18-8.

“They hit us in the mouth and we didn’t respond well,” UNC guard Cameron Johnson said. “They played better than us.”

Johnson was the only other UNC player to score in double figures with 10 points. He entered Saturday’s game as the ACC’s leader in 3-point percentage at 49.4, yet went 0-for-4 from beyond the arc against the Cardinals.

Forward Luke Maye added nine points and 11 rebounds, just one point shy of recording his third double-double in ACC play. Entering Saturday, Maye and Duke’s Zion Williamson were the only players in the conference to post double-doubles in each of the first two games.

Despite UNC not shooting well — it shot 34 percent overall and 14 percent from 3-point range — coach Roy Williams believes his team has to find other ways to be competitive — like playing stiffer defense. The longtime coach said postgame that he was surprised at how effortless it was for the Cardinals to get the ball under the basket and score.

“They’re long and athletic and that’s a very good positive for them no question about that,” Williams said. “But I didn’t think they’d dominate everything inside like that. Enoch, he was a load for us to say the least.”

Enoch pulled down 11 rebounds and made one 3, though most of his scoring was done inside. He shot 7-of-13 and made 2 of his four free throws. The Tar Heels tried a number of defensive combinations in an attempt to slow the 6-foot-10 junior center, but couldn’t find the proper fit.

The loss snaps UNC’s four-game winning streak, and is next in action hosting Notre Dame at 9 p.m. on Tuesday.