Louisville falls to Carolina: Key Moments

Despite building an early lead, the third-ranked Cardinals couldn't keep No. 24 North Carolina in check on Sunday afternoon. Here's a look at a few key moments from the loss...

University of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino made it clear following the Cardinals underwhelming victory over Fairfield on Saturday afternoon. He claimed that if his team played the same on Sunday against North Carolina that they could get blown out.

Once the ball was tipped, things seemed to flow as most expected for the favored Cardinals. Russ Smith was stroking threes and North Carolina native Montrezl Harrell had an early dunk.

North Carolina had an answer, as Marcus Paige totaled a career-high 32 points and the reserve combo of Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks combined for 26 points on 11 of 13 shooting.

Here's a look at a few of the key moments that helped dictate the outcome of the game.

Lone Boom
>The two teams traded baskets early in the contest. Following a three-pointer by UNC's J.P. Tokoto to trim U of L's lead to 11-10, the Cardinals had a 8-0 mini-boom to grab an early 19-10 advantage with 14:38 left in the first half. The run was highlighted by 5 points from Russ Smith, including his third three-pointer of the game.

We can do this
>First half free throws. Consider that U of L entered the game coverting 64 percent of its attempts from the charity stripe. Through five games the Cardinals checked in at No. 284 in the country in free throw percentage. During the first 20 minutes, the Cardinals hit 12 of 15 (80%) from the line, highlighted by Russ Smith going 6 of 7. Chane Behanan (3-3) and Mangok Mathiang (2-2) were both perfect during the first half. Louisville finished a very impressive 21 of 25 (84%) for the game.

Momentum Missed
>After North Carolina had built a 52-48 lead with 16:19 to go, Montrezl Harrell grabbed an offensive rebound and drew the third foul on Marcus Paige on a putback that had the look of a spurt-killer. After Harrell hit 1 of 2 free throw attempts, Russ Smith stole a UNC pass and drove the length of the floor to potentially pull the Cardinals within one. Instead, Smith missed a layup, Behanan missed an easy follow and then committed his third foul.

Missing Montrezl
Forward Montrezl Harrell picked up his fourth foul with 13:14 remaining and the Cardinals trailing 58-55. The sophomore headed to the bench and the Tarheels went on a run. Two possessions later U of L struggled to find a shot, forcing Luke Hancock to force a jumper that fell short. The UNC rebound led to a fast break dunk by James McAdoo. Three minutes later the score was 70-58 and Rick Pitino was requesting a timeout.

Career High
>Unfortunate that it came in a difficult loss, but Louisville's AP All-American had the type of afternoon that will certainly keep him in the Player of the Year conversation. Russ Smith scored a career-high 36 points on 11 of 21 shooting. The senior connected on 6 of 14 three-point attempts, and 8 of 9 from the free throw line. Smith's previous best was 31 points, something he accomplished twice last season against UMKC and again in the Midwest Regional against Oregon.

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