LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A sizzling first half meant Wake Forest led No. 5 Louisville by 12 at halftime of Wednesday night’s ACC basketball game at the KFC Yum! Center.
It took a little more than five minutes of the second half for Louisville to take its first lead of what turned into the Cardinals’ 86-76 win.
Louisville (20-3, 11-1 ACC) went on a 20-2 run after a 3-pointer by Andrien White put Wake Forest ahead by 14 in the first minute of the second half. The Cardinals never trailed for the rest of the game, although the Deacons stayed within relative striking distance — behind by five on three occasions in the final seven minutes.
The Cardinals, though, closed out the Deacons by shooting 57.1% in the second half and only committing two turnovers — after giving it to the Deacons nine times in the first half.
Wake Forest (10-12, 3-9) was seeking consecutive ACC wins for the first time since the end of the 2017 season, when the Deacons won their last three games of the regular season. The Deacons also haven’t beaten a top-five team since March 5, 2014 — which was a win over No. 4 Duke in what turned out to be Jeff Bzdelik’s final home game as Wake Forest’s coach.
This makes Wake Forest 6-45 in ACC road games under Coach Danny Manning, who’s in his sixth season, and would’ve thrown a significant wrench into the top of the league’s standings.
Instead, it’s another step that keeps Louisville atop the league and keeps Wake Forest in a standstill — and in last place of the ACC.
Wake Forest junior center Olivier Sarr bounced back from a poor offensive showing Saturday night with 16 points and six rebounds, but fouled out with 4:44 left.
Wake Forest made eight of its first 12 shots on the way to building a 22-13 lead a little more than seven minutes into the game. Four 3-pointers — two from Brandon Childress and one each from White and Isaiah Mucius — helped opened things up for the Deacons’ offense.
Louisville had back-to-back buckets to cut the deficit to five, and then the Deacons responded with a 10-0 run across 5½ minutes, prompting a timeout by Coach Chris Mack.
The Deacons didn’t cool off for the rest of the first half, heading into halftime with a 46-34 lead after shooting 60% and making six 3-pointers — one fewer than they had in all of Saturday night’s 56-44 win against Clemson.