No. 11 Virginia (17-4, 6-3 ACC) defeated No. 16 Louisville (17-4, 6-2 ACC) in stifling fashion Saturday afternoon by a score of 63-47.
The 47 points was the lowest output of the season for Louisville, who was manhandled by the Virginia defense.
Louisville's leading scorers, Damion Lee and Trey Lewis, who combine for almost 30 points per game, were held to just 10 Saturday. They didn't get much support from the rest of the team, who shot just 32 percent from the field.
Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis tried to explain just what Louisville ran into against the Virginia defense:
Seth Davis @SethDavisHoops
Louisville has the talent to score on Virginia but not the sophistication. Like trying to solve calculus problems with an abacus.1/30/2016, 7:34:18 PM
Virginia, meanwhile, were led by guard Malcolm Brogdon and forward Anthony Gill, who each scored 13 points. The Cavaliers, who run a short bench, played only eight players, yet all of them recorded points in the win.
In the game's first 10 minutes, Quentin Snider had Louisville's first—and only—five points, as the Cardinals were in an early double-digit hole and stayed there.
It didn't help that they were turning the ball over, either, committing 18 on the day, seven of them in the game's first eight minutes.
The Comeback's Michael Grant wasn't sure if Louisville was going to hit 10 points in the first half:
Michael Grant @MichaelGrant_CJ
Will Louisville score double figures in the first half versus Virginia? *shakes magic 8 ball*1/30/2016, 6:30:23 PM
While Virginia's defense was frustrating Louisville, it was also frustrating Fox Sports' Charlie Burris:
Charlie Burris @Charlie_Burris
It is laborious to watch Virginia play. Suffocating defense and sluggish offense. Painful.1/30/2016, 6:39:18 PM
Virginia's offense, meanwhile, was finding a way to score on Louisville's stingy defense. Brogdon provided the highlight of the first half with this step-back courtesy of CBS Sports:
CBS Sports @CBSSports
This sums up the game for Louisville thus far... https://t.co/bP9Ozilqxf1/30/2016, 6:50:05 PM
Louisville did manage to get over 10, scoring 14, but it trailed by 15 at halftime after shooting just 4-of-19 from the field. It was one of Louisville's worst halves of the season, with the team averaging 40.5 points per first half this season, per Fox Sports' Reid Forgrave.
It didn't get any better in the second half, either. Virginia's aggressive play on both ends of the floor was too much for Louisville to handle, and the team was visibly shaken by the Cavaliers' pace of play.
Halfway through the second, Virginia was up 20—a shock to many, including WFXR's Jeff Archer:
Jeff Archer @jeffarcherSport
If you had Virginia doubling Louisville in the 2nd half raise your hand... Put your hand down you liar. Cavs lead 41-20 with 11:48 left.1/30/2016, 7:27:16 PM
Louisville's inability to score continually gave Virginia opportunities to play the transition game, which it ran to perfection Saturday.
After a recent slide in which they lost three of four games, the Cavaliers have now won four straight, including wins over Syracuse and a last-second thriller against Wake Forest.
Louisville, who had won six of its last seven games, dropped its first game at home, and it wasn't pretty. Saturday's result was the team's worst loss at the KFC Yum! Center.
This is one of those performances where the Cardinals need a short memory. The film from this game needs to be thrown away, because nothing went right for them.
Virginia is now 4-0 this season against Top 25 teams, while Louisville is still searching for its first win against an RPI Top 25 team.
Virginia head coach Tony Bennett had to be pleased after such a convincing win against a ranked opponent as he took the podium via Louisville's Matt Willinger:
Matt Willinger @MattWillinger
Virginia coach Tony Bennett at the podium now. Called today's win his team's most complete performance of the season https://t.co/LJDKdEiYFJ1/30/2016, 8:09:57 PM
Against such a successful scorer like Lee, his message to his team was simple, via Steve Jones of the Courier Journal:
Steve Jones @SteveJones_CJ
Tony Bennett on Damion Lee strategy: "Just make him earn". Lee had only 6 points. https://t.co/ujwIGY0e9g via @courierjournal1/30/2016, 8:11:43 PM
What might have been more impressive was the Cavaliers' ability to play so well in a hostile environment where Louisville was previously undefeated, per Jones:
Steve Jones @SteveJones_CJ
Tony Bennett says, in contrast to noise of last year, Cavs never let crowd be a factor today https://t.co/ujwIGY0e9g via @courierjournal1/30/2016, 8:16:08 PM
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino obviously wasn't as please. But after the game, he admitted that this result was expected, per Jeff Greer of the Courier Journal:
Jeff Greer @jeffgreer_cj
Rick Pitino at the mic: "You've got to give Virginia a lot of credit ... Unfortunately I saw this day coming." Live: https://t.co/xZYGpIUBAW1/30/2016, 8:18:28 PM
He didn't mince his words either, via the Courier Journal's Matt Stone:
Matt Stone @mattstonephotog
"We got our brains beat in," says Rick Pitino after Louisville's loss to Virginia. https://t.co/BaOB5irsCV1/30/2016, 8:22:54 PM
It doesn't get any easier for Louisville. On Monday, they take on No. 2 North Carolina and No. 24 and 25 Duke and Notre Dame the following week. So Pitino and the Cardinals have to right the ship quickly or they could see their standing in the rankings plummet.
Virginia has a bit of an easier schedule in the next two weeks. They don't play a ranked team until Duke on Feb. 13.
Stats courtesy of ESPN.com
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