Louisville leads big before surviving Boston College 77-69
By GARY B. GRAVES
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Deng Adel's work day looked complete as he headed to the bench with a statistical double-double that put Louisville comfortably ahead of Boston College ��� or so it seemed before things began unraveling in less than two minutes.
The junior forward ended up going back in to deliver the first of the Cardinals' 10 free throws on 12 attempts in the final minute that sealed Sunday's tense 77-69 victory over the Eagles.
"At that point it's a free-throw game," said Adel, who had all of his 18 points and 10 rebounds after halftime, including the free throw with 56 seconds remaining.
"So, not turning it over and inbounding it, that's a lot of pressure on me because I was the one there. Just making the right reads and guys being strong with the ball, and just making free throws."
A second half in which the Cardinals (15-4, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) pulled away with several spurts ended up with them needing every point possible down the stretch.
Their 12-2 surge just after the break - including nine by Adel - propelled them to a 46-33 lead that eventually reached 18 with 3:57 remaining. Louisville's scoring leader exited with 2:47 left and the Cardinals up by 16, but the Eagles stormed back within 71-69 on Jordan Chatman's 3 with 33 seconds left.
After V.J. King's two free throws made it a four-point game, Chatman's long-range attempt bounced off the rim and out of bounds.
Ryan McMahon then made two from the line before King made two more to seal the Cardinals' fourth consecutive win.
And a lesson learned by Louisville interim coach David Padgett that it's never really over until the final horn.
"I probably should have waited a little bit longer to empty the bench, which is part of the learning process," Padgett conceded.
King finished with 15 points, Jordan Nwora had 15 off the bench and Malik Williams 10 for the Cardinals.
Jerome Robinson had 19 points, Ky Bowman 16 and Nik Popovic and Chatman 12 each for BC (13-7, 3-4), which had its two-game winning streak stopped. The Eagles also lost their 21st consecutive ACC road game, but not without making one last charge.
"We finally made some shots, that's what happened," Eagles coach Jim Christian said of the comeback. "You can't win on the road and go 8 for 29 from 3(-point range) and commit 16 turnovers. For us to win with our limited depth we have to make shots, and we didn't make 3s today."
Boston College: The Eagles brought in two of the ACC's top six scorers in Robinson (18.2 points) and Bowman (15.7), who did their parts in whacking Louisville's lead. But their bench was outscored 22-2 and couldn't get the needed basket late to tie the game.
Louisville: The Cardinals had to work for shots against the Eagles' active defense and succeeded in the second half, shooting 13 of 27 (48 percent) to finish 40 percent overall. Nwora's 13 first-half points helped Louisville lead 31-29 at the break before Adel took over. That big lead came in handy against a lull that allowed BC to make it interesting. Ray Spalding finished with 11 rebounds.
Robinson left the game twice in the first half because of a stomach illness, but returned to finish 8 of 16 from the field with a 3.
"My stomach was just bothering me a little bit before the game," he said, "and then once we got up-and-down, I was like, 'I need to go the bathroom.' I had to get it out of me. It was tough."
Boston College: Visits Syracuse on Wednesday. The Eagles split last year with the Orange but have lost five of six series meetings.
Louisville: Visits Miami on Wednesday. The Cardinals have won three of four against the Hurricanes since entering the ACC, including last season.
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Updated January 21, 2018