LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Deng Adel would have preferred less time between his second and third baskets after the break but welcomed the timing of his makes that pushed Louisville past rival Indiana.
The junior forward’s final basket was perhaps his best, as it snatched momentum for good in the Cardinals’ most meaningful win this season.
“It was just me taking great balance. Once I got open space, backing up, I just put it up,” Adel said after scoring 16 points, including a key jumper with 41 seconds remaining as Louisville pulled away from Indiana for a 71-62 victory on Saturday.
“It was a big shot. When my guys tell me big-time guys make big-time plays, I just go off that.”
The visiting Hoosiers got within 65-62 with 58.2 seconds left on De’Ron Davis’ free throw, but Adel soon answered with a jumper as the shot clock wound down to make it a five-point game. Ryan McMahon then stole the ball and fed Dwayne Sutton on the break for a layup to make it 69-62, and Quentin Snider (13 points) added two free throws with 16 seconds left to seal the Cardinals’ second straight win.
Having come up short down the stretch at Purdue and again on Sunday against Seton Hall, Louisville finally earned the marquee win it sought against the Big Ten Conference school less than two hours away. Adel shot just 6 of 15 from the field but made consecutive 3-pointers coming out of halftime to put Louisville (6-2) ahead in a half it shot just 42 percent.
His basket was one of several critical shots the Cardinals made to keep the Hoosiers (5-5) at bay.
“I don’t think we can use just one game,” said Louisville interim coach David Padgett, whose team won its second in a row. “Obviously, I don’t want to call it a feel-good win, every win feels good. But we wanted to get some momentum going. We didn’t want to look ahead, but we wanted to play in two-game stretches.”
The Cardinals had ugly stretches, particularly in missing eight of their first nine shots and trailing by 10 in the first half. A couple more rough patches late featuring costly turnovers opened the door for Indiana, but the Hoosiers couldn’t take advantage because of their own mistakes. Eight of their 15 turnovers came in the final 20 minutes.
“Give Louisville credit, they did some good things in the second half,” Indiana first-year coach Archie Miller said. “We had some turnovers the last six minutes that really hurt us.”
Juwan Morgan had 17 points, Davis 14 and Josh Newkirk 13 for Indiana, which led 36-35 at halftime but shot just 36 percent and 22 of 55 overall (40 percent).
The contest was still tense and provided energy to a matchup of storied rivals that began with less buzz from a year ago with both programs transitioning under new coaches. Padgett took over in September after Hall of Famer Rick Pitino was placed on unpaid administrative leave and eventually fired in October in the wake of a federal bribery investigation of college basketball . Miller succeeded Tom Crean as the Hoosiers’ coach.
Indiana: After making 5 of 11 from long range in the first half, the Hoosiers finished 5 of 23 (22 percent). That struggle, coupled with their failure to slow down Louisville after halftime, shifted momentum as they failed to follow up with their Big Ten Conference win over Iowa.
Louisville: The Cardinals’ frontcourt provided a surprising lift to a sputtering perimeter game, with 6-foot-11 Malik Williams making his first three attempts in the first half for a career-high nine points. Adel was 4 of 8 while 6-10 Ray Spalding (10 points, career-high 14 rebounds, 5 blocks) drained one as well. Guard Ryan McMahon added one for four points in his long-awaited return from a fractured rib as Louisville shot 9 of 26 from long range. Anas Mahmoud had 10 points and seven rebounds before fouling out with 2:41 left.
Both teams grabbed 37 rebounds, including 25 each defensively. … The announced attendance of 20,030 was a season high for Louisville.
Indiana faces in-state rival and No. 9 Notre Dame on Dec. 16 in the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis.
Louisville hosts Bryant on Monday in the Gotham Classic.
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