Louisville basketball: After the final buzzer vs. Boston College

MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 05: Jordan Nwora #33 of the Louisville Cardinals reacts after making a three pointer against the Miami Hurricanes during the second half at Watsco Center on November 05, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 05: Jordan Nwora #33 of the Louisville Cardinals reacts after making a three pointer against the Miami Hurricanes during the second half at Watsco Center on November 05, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Louisville basketball picked up their seventh straight win on Wednesday night. Our takeaways after the final buzzer.

Louisville basketball (18-3 overall, 9-1 ACC) flew past the Eagles 86-69 Wednesday night in Chestnut Hill, thanks in large part to a career-high 37 points from Jordan Nwora.

The junior got things rolling early by scoring the team’s first four points, as getting a couple early buckets seems to be the key to having a big night offensively for Nwora, much like we talked about in this week’s game day central previewing Boston College.

After only maintaining a two-point lead at the break, the Cards used their length and athleticism to outscore Boston College (10-11 overall, 4-6 ACC) 41-26 in the 2nd half.

The win makes it seven in a row for Chris Mack’s squad, the longest conference win streak since joining the ACC. Louisville battles NC State next at 2:00 pm on Saturday in Raleigh.

Alan Thomas provided his thoughts post-game, which you can read here, but now having a night to sleep on it here my key takeaways from Louisville’s win over Boston College.

Jordan Nwora’s may have locked up the ACC POY Award behind career-best performance 

The Preseason ACC Player of the Year was in his bag on Wednesday night, dropping 37 points and hitting contested, step-back jumpers all night.

His 37-point performance was the most by any ACC player this season, and the most by a Cardinal on an opponent’s home court since Butch Beard put up 41 against Bradley on January 14th, 1967 (Shout-out to Kelly Dickey).

Against the Eagles, Nwora (11/20 FG, 7/14 from three) looked much more comfortable offensively in regards to not forcing tough shots and trusting his teammates.

Almost every one of his made three-point baskets were from catch-and-shoot scenarios, in other words, they were within the flow of the offense. Louisville has the luxury of having other guys to lean on not named Jordan Nwora, too, which makes the Cards such a difficult team to game plan against. If you plan to take away Nwora, then that leaves the opportunity for a David Johnson, Steven Enoch, Dwayne Sutton, etc. to hurt you offensively.

However, if you don’t guard the future lottery pick out of Buffalo, then he’ll do what he did on Wednesday night in Chestnut Hill.

Louisville dominated the second half 

There were several factors that led to Louisville pulling away from an upset-minded BC squad. The first being ball-security and better decision-making, as the Cards went from 10 first-half turnovers to just three miscues after the break. Part of giving freshman point guard David Johnson the reigns, so to speak, is living with his young mistakes. He made a couple of bad passes and seemed to be forcing things a bit offensively for the first time this year; however, the positives significantly outweigh the negatives with the Louisville native. You saw firsthand last night how well he sees the court and sets up his teammates for such a young player, who not to mention missed nearly five and a half months with shoulder surgery.

Another key factor in turning a two-point halftime lead into a 17-point victory was the intensity on defense. In the first 20 minutes, the Cards didn’t necessarily play poor defensively, the Eagles were just shooting uncharacteristically well. They entered the game shooting 29.9 percent as a team from three-point range, which ranks 315th nationally, so naturally, they went 5/13 in the first half. The Eagles’ offensive explosion wasn’t sustainable though, as Chris Mack sprinkled in a little zone, which made BC stand on offense and allowed David Johnson to use his length at the top of the zone to get steals and deflections. Jay Heath was held to just five 2nd-half points after scoring 11 in the first half, including 3/5 from bonus land.

A sequence in the 2nd half that stuck out to me was with just 5:15 left in the game and the Cards nursing a nine-point lead. Ryan McMahon drove into the paint and made a beautiful pass to Samuell Williamson for a three-pointer, before drilling a deep three of his own to all but put the game away. The box score will never jump out at you regarding McMahon, but man he always seems to knock down big-time shots when we need it the most.

Louisville now has longest conference winning streak since joining ACC in 2014

The road win over Boston College marks the Cards’ longest conference win streak since 2014 when they also won seven in a row en route to becoming the inaugural American Conference regular-season and tournament champions. The Cards are starting to find their footing on both ends of the floor, players are learning their roles, and Mack is finding which rotations work best, which is what you want heading into February and March.

Having a healthy Malik Williams and David Johnson has completely changed the dynamic of this team and gives them options besides Nwora on offense.

While DJ didn’t have great success getting in the lane and made some freshman turnovers against Boston College, as I said, the positives significantly outweigh the negatives, and we all know how guard play is crucial in order to advance in late March and early April. Louisville is going to get every team’s best shot each night, which will only benefit this team down the road.

Next. Louisville basketball: Freshmen report cards. dark

The Cards will look to make it eight consecutive wins and tighten their grip on the ACC lead as they visit a desperate NC State team in Raleigh at 2:00 pm.