Wake Forest survives, deprives Louisville of possible No. 1 seed

The Wake Forest players couldn’t wait until the end of the game to start celebrating, some of them jumping up and down with 10 seconds to go, their fans making their way down to the court.

The 88-81 win over the eighth-ranked University of Louisville obviously a big one, an unexpected triumph for the Demon Deacons.

Deng Adel kept Louisville in the game with his 22 points but still waiting for the Calvary (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Senior night for the eighth-ranked team in the Atlantic Coast Conference, not headed for the NCAA Tournament after the season, nothing to lose, letting it all hang out on a nationally-televised game. You know like they play this way all the time.

The Demon Deacons refusing to live up to their reputation, not rolling over, oblivious to UofL jumping out to an early 14-point lead in the first half. Hitting the circus shots, staying close, waiting for the Cardinals to go cold, whittling the lead to one point at the half. That was all the motivation Wake Forest seemed to need with all of the adrenaline flowing in the 14,500-seat facility.

Not a good road team this particular UofL basketball team, Donovan Mitchell seeming to lose his way after scoring all of his seven points in the first five minutes of the game. Mangok Mathiang credited with only one turnover but rarely able to catch a pass or make an easy shot look impossible. Ray Spalding getting off to a good start but mysteriously pulling a muscle or something, and never the same after that.

Deng Adel and Quentin Snider keeping UofL close with 22 and 15 points, respectively.

Not the best time to go sour, not with Louisville being mentioned prominently as a possible No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Just another motivational factor for Wake Forest, nothing to lose, not much to gain except for a win over a top 10 team.

Watch them storm the court, those delirious Demon Deacon fans.

McKay homer propels Louisville past Wake Forest

Brendan McKay clears the bases. File photo by Cincy Rice Shelton.
Brendan McKay cleared the bases with a three-run home run. File photo by Cindy Rice Shelton.

When Brendan McKay isn’t knocking scorching line drives to opposing infielders, he’s a deadly hitter. Not that he’s predictable, but there’s a noticeable shift when he’s at the plate.

McKay couldn’t have picked a better time to break the routine, sending the first pitch over the right field fence for his fourth home run of the season. The blast scored two runners in front of him, breaking a 3-3 tie, and propelling the University of Louisville to a 9-4 win at Wake Forest.

The UofL sophomore, who had his streak of reaching base safely 37 straight games broken in Thursday’s game, got back on track in the past two games, with three hits on Friday and the four-bagger on Saturday. He’s hitting .338 for the season.

Senior right-hander Kyle Funkhouser giving up a pair of home runs to Wake Forest in the first inning, giving the Demon Deacons a 3-0 jumpstart. The Cardinals would tie the game in the third inning on Danny Rosenbaum’s eighth home run, driving in Blake Tiberi.

The win was Funkhouser’s eighth this season against three losses, raising his all-time program record to 34 wins in his UofL career.

The second regular season in the Atlantic Coast Conference is in the books, with UofL winning the Atlantic Division the first two seasons in teh conference, finishing the current season 22-8 in the conference and 46-10 overall.

Louisville, the second seed behind Miami, will enjoy a first day bye for the ACC tournament, which begins Tuesday at Durham, N.C.

Louisville baseball tops Atlantic Division back to back

No. 1 in the Atlantic Division. Again.

The University of Louisville baseball team finishes the regular season on top after defeating Wake Forest 3-1 Thursday while Florida State was losing 4-2 at home to Miami.

Devon Hairston on a tear. File photo by Cindy Rice Shelton.
Devon Hairston on a tear. File photo by Cindy Rice Shelton.

Devon Hairston providing the hitting, knocking the first pitch to him over the left field wall in the second inning. He would finish the day with two hits, score two runs and drive in two runs. The home run was his third this year and he’s currently batting .370.

Brendan McKay and Zack Burdi supplying the bulk of the pitching.

McKay struck out six batters, gave up six hits but only one run in six innings. He’s 11-2 this season and 20-5 in his collegiate career. Burdi claimed his 10th save of the season, shutting down all three batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth.

The Cardinals are guaranteed one of the top two seeds in next week’s ACC Championship tournament, which kicks off Tuesday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, North Carolina.

 

Louisville women’s basketball win streak at 14

Not taking any team for granted, not this University of Louisville women’s basketball team.

UofL defeating Wake Forest 78-54 Sunday before a crowd of 9,673 at the KFC Yum! Center. Fourteenth win in a row, improving to 17-5 overall and 8-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Asia Durr collected 13 of her 18 points in the second half.
Asia Durr collected 13 of her 18 points in the second half.

Wake Forest making the game physical early, hanging around trading baskets with UofL, trailing by only six points at the half.

Jeff Walz wanting his best shooters to take more shots, quit being so unselfish, needing them to take control. Urging them to shoot in the second half. And they would, with Mariya Moore leading all scorers with 26 points. Asia Durr would score 13 of her 18 points in the second half.

Myisha Hines-Allen and Briahanna Jackson added 10 points apiece for the game.

Next up is the University of North Carolina on Thursday at Chapel Hill, followed by a home game against highly-ranked Notre Dame at 2 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday.

Louisville edges Wake Forest in an ugly duckling

Mercifully time finally ran out in the football game between the University of Louisville and Wake Forest University, sparing the personnel of both teams any further embarrassment.

If UofL’s 17-14 win over Boston College last week was ugly, the 20-19 escape past Wake Forest this week was grotesque. Had the Cardinals coughed up this one, the outlook for the rest of the season going to be bleak. It’s obviously going to be very challenging if UofL continues to play to the level of the competition.

When Bobby Petrino said it was a nice win after the game, what he really meant his team was damned lucky to get out of Winston-Salem with its self-respect intact. That was only possible because the defense saved UofL time after time, picking off four Wake Forest passes in the second half.

What he really meant his team was damned lucky to get out of Winston-Salem with its self-respect intact.

The UofL offense, as Petrino warned during the week, is inconsistent and unpredictable. As impressive as the four-play 87-yard touchdown drive was in the closing seconds of the first half, it was more than offset by the lack of ability to move the ball most of the night.

Jackson still struggling, not getting much protection from his offensive line, rushing things, making hasty decisions. Opposing defenses zeroing in on him, shutting down UofL’s most viable running threat. He would, however, complete 19 of 26 passing attempts, connecting with Jamari Staples 10 times for 133 yards and two touchdowns.

Fate dictated that Petrino go with Kyle Bolin at quarterback after Jackson and Reggie Bonnafon were injured. UofL suddenly finding a running game, getting some much-needed production from Jeremy Smith. The drive would stall, however, and Louisville would be lucky to survive. UofL would manage only 68 net rushing yards for the night, compared to only 40 for the Deacons.

Petrino, regarded in some circles as an offensive genius, has had some serious challenges facing him while getting UofL to a 4-4 won-lost record this season. His genius much needed, considering the shortcomings of his offensive lne.

The coach fortunate that his defense is starting to live up to the hype (most of the time). That defense led by Devante Fields on Friday with seven solo tackles and a sack in this one, along with three sacks from Trevon Young with four solos and three sacks. Four interceptions courtesy of Dee Smith, Shaq Wiggins, Chucky Williams and Tremaine Washington.

Unless UofL’s offensive line starts to come around, expect some more ugly football next week when Syracuse comes to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Games between these two teams have never been very pretty.