University of Louisville senior guard Chris Jones had 20 of his 22 points in the second half as the Cardinals held on to win in the school's ACC Conference opener, beating Wake Forest 85-76 on the road.
The Cardinals led by as much as 13 points in the first half but had to overcome some hot shooting by Wake Forest, foul trouble and some struggling play by the three guys in the post to score a victory in Winston Salem, N.C.
Jones added a career-high 10 assists, while Montrezl Harrell had 25 points and 13 rebounds for the Cardinals. U of L trailed before a 16-3 run late in the game to seal it.
Jones scored 14 points in the final eight minutes of play.
Devin Thomas had a career-high 31 points and 11 rebounds for Wake Forest (8-7, 0-2).
PLAYER OF THE GAME
After not starting and only playing nine minutes against Long Beach State, U of L guard Chris Jones had perhaps his best game in two years.
Jones didn't force shots, seemingly got the Cardinals in the right offense most of the time, played solid defense and took over in the end.
"I'm all in," he said to Paul Rogers after the game.
Jones was just 1 of 3 from the field in the first half and had eight assists, but had to do more for his team in the second half. With Terry Rozier in foul trouble, Jones took over for a stretch in the middle of the half - hitting several big shots.
He finished 7 of 13 from the field and 8 of 9 from the line. Jones was solid in his all-around effort and didn't force things.
If he listens and plays like he did tonight, the Cards are a lot better.
BIG SHOT OF THE GAME
Well, lets go with big sequence of the game.
U of L held Wake Forest to a missed shot but then on the other end Jones missed a jumper with the Cardinals ahead 72-69.
Harrell then soared for an offensive rebound between three Wake Forest players, gave it back to Jones. Terry Rozier ended the sequence with a 18-foot jumper to make it 74-69.
It was a huge sequence for the Cardinals.
THEY SAID IT
U of L coach Rick Pitino
""All Chris Jones has to do to be one of the better point guards in the country is listen. He’s gone from never listening in junior college and high school to listening about 70 percent of the time."
A FEW TIP-INS
****Jones' double-double is the first of his career; he's the first U of L player with 20 or more points and 10 or more assists since Reece Gaines in 2002.
****Harrell scored 20 of his 25 points in the first half and ended with his 18th career double-double. He also had 13 rebounds and one block in 38 minutes.
****Harrell hit 9 of 14 from the field, including 2 of 3 three-pointers, and was 5 of 8 from the free-throw line.
****Freshman Shaqquan Aaron had 11 points in 23 minutes; while Anton Gill had five points and two rebounds in 13 minutes.
****Louisville was outrebounded 36-35.
****The Cardinals shot 31 of 62 from the field and 16 of 25 free throws.
The Cardinals return home for a 9 p.m. game on Wednesday against Clemson before hitting the road next Saturday to play at North Carolina.