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NCAAB: Louisville nips Southern in first game of Chris Mack’s suspension

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Samuell Williamson scored 14 points and grabbed 14 rebounds Tuesday night as host Louisville rallied in the second half to topple Southern 72-60 in each team’s season opener.

Noah Locke tallied a team-high 16 points for the Cardinals and Matt Cross chipped in 15, while Malik Williams grabbed 13 rebounds. It was Louisville’s first game without coach Chris Mack, who’s serving a six-game suspension imposed by the school after it determined he didn’t follow the university’s procedures during an extortion attempt by former assistant coach Dino Gaudio.

Brion Whitley scored a game-high 17 points for the Jaguars, who made just 30.9 percent from the field, including an awful 28.9 percent in the second half.

Tyrone Lyons added 11 points before fouling out and Jayden Saddler contributed 10 points. Southern forced 19 turnovers, but was outrebounded 54-40.

The Jaguars led 36-34 when Whitley nailed a transition 3-pointer with 16:55 left in the game, but the Cardinals got consecutive 3-pointers from Locke to fuel an 11-3 burst that put them ahead to stay.

Louisville jumped out to a 9-3 lead just over three minutes into the game on a 3-pointer by Jae’lyn Withers. But the expected rout never materialized for the first half’s remainder as Southern went on a run.

The Jaguars rattled off seven straight points in less than two minutes for a 10-9 lead on a putback by Damien Sears and proceeded to match the Cardinals punch for punch. In fact, they opened up a 25-20 advantage when Whitley stuck a short jumper at the 6:21 mark.

Louisville answered with 13 straight points for a 33-25 lead after Sydney Curry’s layup with 2:42 remaining, but Southern responded. Whitley canned a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left, drawing the visitors within 33-31 at halftime.

The Jaguars used the 3-point arc effectively in the half, sinking 5 of 9 while the Cardinals made just 4 of 18.

–Field Level Media

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