Jordan Nwora is one of the best offensive players in the nation and likely to leave for the NBA next season, but the junior's defense down the stretch stood out in 10th-ranked Louisville's 67-64 win over Notre Dame on Saturday. Nwora will lead his teammates into Pittsburgh on Saturday to try and complete a season sweep of the Panthers while also earning a win for the 15th time in the last 16 games in the series.
Nwora scored 20 points for the 10th time this season, but with the Fighting Irish down three with 35 seconds left, the 6-7 forward shut off T.J. Gibbs from getting a shot then slid over when Prentiss Hubb got the ball and kept him from attempting a 3-pointer. "He single-handedly guarded every ball-handler in that last possession," Louisville coach Chris Mack told reporters after the win. "To be able to keep guards, Prentiss Hubb and Gibbs, out of the lane - to keep them from getting in the lane and penetrating and not putting our team in a tough situation ... I thought his defense was excellent on the ball." Pittsburgh, trying to reestablish its brand since the departure of Jamie Dixon, suffered a 66-58 defeat at Miami (Fla.) on Sunday after knocking off North Carolina the previous game. Tre McGowens had 18 points and seven assists one game after collecting 24 points, eight assists, six rebounds and four steals against the Tar Heels.
TIME: 7 p.m. ET. TV: ACC Network
ABOUT LOUISVILLE (13-3, 4-1 ACC): Reserve guard Ryan McMahon (9.2 points, 44 percent on 3-pointers) scored 17 points and Dwayne Sutton (9.0 points, 9.1 rebounds) hit a pair of key 3-pointers late as Louisville rallied in the final four minutes and finished with a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds. McMahon (6-of-10 shooting), who started the first 13 games of the season, surpassed his previous season high of 16 points - accomplished twice, including against Miami in the season opener. Nwora leads the ACC in scoring (20.8 points) and ranks second in 3-point percentage (44 percent), while senior center Steven Enoch adds 10.9 points and 6.9 rebounds.
ABOUT PITTSBURGH (11-5, 2-3): Terrell Brown recorded 10 points while freshman Justin Champagnie (11.4 points, 6.8 rebounds) tallied eight points, pulled down a game-best 11 rebounds and pocketed a game-high three steals against Miami for the Panthers, who play their next three games at home after snapping a 22-game road losing streak in ACC play against North Carolina. Xavier Johnson (11.8 points, 4.9 assists), who scored 15 points in the first game against Louisville but fouled out and committed five turnovers, was held to four points with four turnovers against the Hurricanes. McGowens leads the team in scoring at 13.2 points and steals at 1.9 and is second in assists at 3.3.
1. Nwora had 19 points and six rebounds, junior F Malik Williams tallied 13 and 11 and the Cardinals held Pitt to 38 percent shooting in a 64-46 win on Dec. 6.
2. The 52.9 percent field-goal percentage by the Hurricanes was the first game the Panthers allowed a team to shoot higher than 50 percent on the season.
3. Nwora is ranked third by KenPom in his National Player of the Year standings behind Vernon Carey of Duke and Devon Dotson of Kansas.
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Key Players to Watch
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- IllnessQues Sat | questionable
Igiehon has missed the previous two games due to illness, and it is unknown if he will play Saturday against Clemson.
- ShoulderProb Wed | probable
Johnson is likely to suit up Wednesday against Georgia Tech despite a left shoulder injury.
- FootQues Sat | questionable
Williams has a foot injury, and it remains to be seen if he will suit up against Duke on Saturday.
- FootQues Tues | questionable
Williams is dealing with a foot injury, and it is unclear if he will suit up against Pittsburgh on Tuesday.