Familiar story in college basketball, the kid who grows up watching teams like Duke and Louisville, dreaming of hitting the winning basket in a nationally televised game. Never gets old, especially when UofL is the object of the dream.
Carlik Jones, the graduate transfer from Radford (Va.) University, seeing his dream come true, live and in person, scoring 11 of his team’s last 13 points. He would also take care of Matthew Hurt, Duke’s leading scorer with 24 points, forcing him out of the game with his fifth foul at the 1:50 mark.
Usually the smallest player on the court, Jones makes those forays into crowded paint area look so easy. Making the seemingly impossible shots over the big guys. Sure things if one doesn’t know better. Sure. He hits the go-ahead-for-good basket seconds after getting Hurt fouled out.
“I love playing for Louisville, never had it so good anywhere,” he said. “Playing the game I love at a school I love. What more could one ask for?”
Eight of his 24 points in those the next four trips up court, including a go-ahead basket and six straight free throws. Leading Louisville to a 70-65 win over Duke at the KFC Yum! Center on Saturday, improving the Cardinals’ record to 10-3 overall and 5-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“It was very important. It kind of lets me know as a captain and our team as a whole what we’re capable of, to kind of get that monkey off our back of the two losses,” added Jones. “And it just shows that we’re still a good team. … and to just keep fighting for one another.”
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Jones had high praise for the defensive efforts of David Johnson in defending Hurt in the final 15 minutes. Hurt would manage only three more baskets after Coach Chris Mack made the defensive switch, not scoring for 12 minutes in the second half.
“David showed some heart!” said Jones. “He was a definite definition of heart. David made him work for everything, the post-ups, the catches. He showed toughness. With the defense David was playing on him, I felt like Hurt was not going to win the game for them.”
“I don’t know how many times (Hurt) touched the ball in the post but it couldn’t have been more than one or two for the last 15 minutes or so,” added the UofL coach.