One of the better wins of the Chris Mack era was coupled along with a bad taste in the mouth of many after another injury to Louisville basketball senior forward Malik Williams in the second half of the Cardinals’ epic overtime win over Duke.
Duke Blue Devils
Both teams started the game hot from the floor in what would be a preview for a high-level basketball game. Carlik Jones and Matthew Hurt were the stars of the show down the stretch for each respective team. Fitting that each team’s best player should shine in the brightest moments.
Hurt poured in 37 of the team’s 73 points on 15-of-21 shooting while just one other Duke player (Wendell Moore) scored in double figures on the night.
Jones led the show for Louisville with 25 points on 9-of-18 shooting. He was a huge part of why the Cardinals won this game down the stretch scoring the team’s final three points in regulation and just barely missing on a pull-up jumper at the buzzer.
In overtime, Jones scored 7 of the team’s 15 points in the period. Just when you think he has nothing else to show, Jones wills this team to victory in a pivotal game.
A very important bubble game that Louisville won in dramatic, inspiring fashion felt like a return to normalcy. So why the gloom surrounding such a performance?
Senior forward Malik Williams leaves the game with another foot injury
The Cardinals were cruising heading into the second half Saturday night. They were clicking and had gone up 10 into halftime before Williams was sat for the remainder of the game with an apparent foot injury. He had been on the ground a few times before an apparent injury sidelined him.
Unfortunately, the Cardinals would struggle without him the rest of the game. Hurt dominated in the post with a lack of length attempting to defend him without the presence of Williams.
It had been the first time all season that Louisville’s “dream” lineup was able to start together. And they looked good. What was looking like a dominant performance from the unit was stripped away as quick as it started.
A bout of optimistic news was given on Williams’ status by head coach Chris Mack after the game.
Williams had just returned from foot surgery on Feb. 20 so being cautious should be no surprise for the 6’11” senior.
For the sake of basketball, we can only hope that Williams is healthy enough to return to the team and this is not another significant injury.
A sad injury for a great player who just has not been able to stay healthy. With the NCAA tournament coming up and the glimmers of greatness on Saturday, getting the opportunity to watch this group at full strength would be a lovely sight to see.
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