CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Jordan Nwora’s 23-point performance Tuesday night included four 3-pointers and a throwdown dunk to help No. 5 Louisville open its season by beating Miami 87-74.
The Cardinals are touted as a potential Final Four team, and they lived up to the hype with a rout on the road against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent.
Nwora, the preseason ACC player of the year, shot 8 for 16 and had 12 rebounds in 31 minutes. He brought the Louisville bench to its feet when he leaped to make a one-handed catch and dunk in one motion on Ryan McMahon’s alley-oop pass.
McMahon sank three consecutive 3-pointers as Louisville scored 17 consecutive points during a four-minute span in the first half and never looked back. The Cardinals’ largest lead was 72-40.
Chris Lykes had 18 points and DJ Vasiljevic scored 16 for the Hurricanes.
Miami coach Jim Larranaga sent three freshmen into the game early in the first half, and they helped the Hurricanes score eight consecutive points to lead 16-9.
The Cardinals answered with their big run to surge ahead 26-16. A 9-0 run late in the half helped to make it 45-26 at halftime.
The crowd included actor Bill Murray, whose son is a Louisville assistant coach, and 18 NBA scouts from 13 teams. The scouts saw plenty to like from the Cardinals, who return six of the top seven scorers from last season’s NCAA tournament squad.
Defense remains a problem for the Hurricanes, who last season allowed opponents to shoot 45% and average 71 points, the worst numbers in Larranaga’s eight years at Miami.
Miami’s Keith Stone, a 6-foot-8 graduate transfer from Florida, sat out while he continues to recover from an ACL injury. The Hurricanes hope he can return in January.
Louisville plays host to Youngstown State on Sunday in the first meeting between the two schools.