|Louisville's Deng Adel putting up a jumper late in the first half. Photo by Jason Schott.
Day 2 of the ACC Tournament on Wednesday afternoon at Barclays Center started with the Louisville Cardinals rolling to an 82-74 win over the Florida State Seminoles.
The final score of this game was not indicative of how much Louisville dominated this game throughout.
The Seminoles started out with a 17-4 lead in the first eight minutes, but it was all Louisville from there.
The Cardinals responded with an 18-3 run capped by a Deng Adel jumper at the 4:22 mark of the first half. That eventually turned into an elongated 27-5 run capped by a Ryan McMahon as time expired to give Lousville a massive 41-22 lead at halftime.
Louisville led by as many as 26 on a Quentin Snider three-pointer with 11:35 remaining.
Florida State rallied to pull within eight, 78-70, on a pair of Braian Angola free throws with 3:26 left. That was as close as they would get until just 15 seconds left when Mfiondu Kabengele dunked one to to cut it to six, 80-74. Snider then buried a pair of free throws to seal it for the Cardinals.
Louisville, who shot 50.8 percent (32-63 for the game, was led by Quentin Snider, who had 19 points on 7-13 from the field, including 3-7 on three-pointers, with six assists and five rebounds.
Ray Spalding had 18 points on 8-13 shooting, and made a three, with four rebounds, a steal, and an assist. Deng Adel had 15 points (6-13 FG, 2-4 threes), eight rebounds and two assists. Dwayne Sutton had 10 points (4-7 FG, 1-1 threes) and six rebounds off the bench.
Louisville improved to 20-12 on the season with this win, the 10th ACC team with 20 wins on the season, and one other (Notre Dame) has 19 victories.
This is the first postseason win for Louisville Head Coach David Padgett, and he said of the game, "Well, we knew they were going to make a run. I get 100 times more nervous about games like that when you have a big lead, especially at halftime, than actually if you're down. If we're tied or down at the half I'm actually more calm, but those are tough. Because you know the other team is going to make a run. They made some very good adjustments in the second half, especially against our zone, and hit some big shots at some crucial times. You've got to give them credit for clawing back into the game. But I thought our guys did a great job of executing our late-game situations, our full-court pressure situations and taking care of the ball. They only had nine turnovers against a team that athletic and that presses that much is a big reason why we won the game and also the backboard.
"Very proud of our guys, very happy with the win, and got to get ready for the No. 1 team in the country yet again tomorrow."
Padgett said of holding on to their big lead down the stretch, "Well, we did a good job of taking care of the ball. I don't know how many turnovers we had in the first half, but we only had nine for the games, and they picked us up full court the entire second half. We did a very good job of running our press break offense of getting the ball into the right person's hands, and we just made good decisions. We stayed confident. We didn't panic when it got close. And fortunately we've been in this situation a lot before, it just hasn't always turned out in our favor, but tonight it did, so we're very happy with that."
Padgett said of this win possibly sealing the deal of getting them in the NCAA Tournament, "Well, this win certainly helped. It's a team that's been ranked in and out of the top 25 all year. We've beat them twice now, so yeah, we feel it helped getting that 20th win. I don't know if any of us know if there's a definitive answer to what's required to get into the tournament. We've tried to approach it one game at a time and we just said we have to try to win this game so we can advance in the ACC Tournament.
"You know, I'm sure this significantly helps our resume, but our focus now is just going to turn to Virginia, a team that we've lost to twice and who we've played well against, so I know if we're able to come out and get a win tomorrow against the No. 1 team in the country that I would surely think they're in."
Louisville moves on to take on top-seeded and nationally No. 1 ranked Virginia Thursday at noon, and Padgett said of playing Virginia soon after suffering a 67-66 loss to them last Thursday night, "Yeah, we haven't talked about it to be honest. The reason we're happy to get them is because it's a chance to beat the No. 1 team in the country and a team that has played well all year long.
"Look, last Thursday was tough, there's no denying that, but we haven't said, well, we've got to beat Florida State so we can get to Virginia. No, we just said we've got to beat Florida State so we can move on. Virginia is going to be ready for us, as they have been all year, and we just have to come out and just leave it all out on the court. We've played well against them both times, but that doesn't change the outcome. We came up short both times. We've got to be ready to compete for 40 minutes tomorrow against the best team in the country."