|No. 16 Louisville hopes to avoid hangover vs. Clemson|
Louisville figured win No. 18 was in the bag earlier this week when it held a 23-point lead over Duke midway through the second half.
One monumental collapse later, the No. 16 Cardinals are in the position of trying to halt a two-game slide when they host Clemson on Saturday in Atlantic Coast Conference play.
Louisville coach Chris Mack is hoping there won't be a hangover effect after his team was outscored 35-10 over the final 9:07 to suffer a brutal 71-69 loss to the Blue Devils on Tuesday.
"I thought we outplayed the best team in the country for a long time, and our team will grow from this," Mack told reporters afterward. "As hard as it is to accept, we're going to grow from it, and there will be better times."
The Cardinals (17-8, 8-4) have lost three of their past four games -- all four against ranked opponents -- as they try to rebound against Clemson (15-9, 5-6).
Louisville also lost to North Carolina and Florida State during the stretch. But the Duke loss was on a grander scale, and Mack doesn't mind saying it -- he's worried about the meltdown lingering.
"Sure it's a concern," Mack said. "But I also feel like I have some of the best guys in the country in that locker room. They have great character. ... Just try to grow from it and get better."
The Tigers will also be looking to bounce back from a tough loss.
Clemson fell to Miami 65-64 on Wednesday when Zach Johnson hit a jumper with 0.4 seconds left to give the Hurricanes the win.
The heartbreaking defeat snapped a four-game winning streak and dropped the Tigers below .500 in ACC play.
"Just a disappointing loss by us," Clemson coach Brad Brownell said afterward.
Senior guard Shelton Mitchell scored 15 points against Miami to become the 41st player in program history to reach 1,000 career points. Mitchell has 1,001.
Mitchell has 37 points over the last two games after experience a two-game funk in which he had just 14 points on 5-of-14 shooting.
"I think for the most part, I did a good job of staying confident," Mitchell told reporters. "But it felt good to know all the hard work has paid off."
Mitchell is third on the Tigers in scoring with an 11.8 average. Senior guard Marcquise Reed averages a team-best 18.9 points with a team-high 42 steals, while senior forward Elijah Thomas averages 13 points and leads the squad in rebounding (7.8) and blocked shots (52).
Sophomore forward Jordan Nwora leads Louisville in scoring (17.8) and rebounding (7.8) after scoring 23 points and grabbing 12 boards in the loss to Duke. Nwora matched his career best of five 3-pointers while notching his 11th 20-point outing of the campaign.
Junior forward Dwayne Sutton (11.2) and senior point guard Christen Cunningham (10.2 points, team-best 5.0 assists) also score in double digits for the Cardinals. Cunningham registered a career-best 12 assists in the loss to Duke.
Louisville has won five of the seven previous meetings against Clemson, but the Tigers won last season's matchup -- 74-69 in overtime behind Reed's 24 points and five steals.
--Field Level Media