WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Carlik Jones scored a season-high 23 points to help No. 16 Louisville beat Wake Forest 77-65 on Wednesday night, extending the Cardinals' best start in Atlantic Coast Conference play.
Samuell Williamson added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Cardinals (9-1, 4-0 ACC), who blew nearly all of a 16-point second-half lead before finally putting this one away in the final 6 minutes as the Demon Deacons went cold.
Louisville shot 51% for the game to reach 4-0 in the league, marking the program's best since joining the ACC before the 2014-15 season. It marked the best start in any league since for the Cardinals since winning their first eight Big East games during the 2008-09 season.
Daivien Williamson scored 19 points for the Demon Deacons (3-4, 0-4), who looked on the way to a blowout loss when Louisville scored twice off consecutive turnovers to take a 50-34 lead and force a timeout just 90 seconds after halftime. They clawed back to within a point midway through the second half, only to go 9 1/2 minutes without a basket to squander a shot at an upset.
Wake Forest shot just 9 of 29 (31%) after halftime, including 2 of 14 from behind the 3-point arc.
Louisville: The Cardinals arrived with their best start in a conference since going 3-0 during the 2012-13 season in the Big East. They ran off a 16-0 run to lead by double figures in the first half, including a run of eight straight made shots and 10 straight scoring possessions. That hot shooting didn't hold up, but Louisville did enough to earn a third league road win so far this year.
Wake Forest: It also didn’t help that Wake Forest was thinner in the backcourt without midyear enrollee Carter Whitt, who was wearing a boot on his right leg after rolling his ankle during the day’s shootaround. But the Demon Deacons showed plenty of fight to claw back in it after Louisville threatened to turn this into a blowout. Ultimately, they couldn't come up with a desperately needed basket or two during that long drought during a close game before Louisville finally started to stretch the lead back out again.
Louisville: The Cardinals play a second straight road game when they visit Miami on Saturday.
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons have another matchup with a ranked team, hosting No. 20 Virginia Tech on Sunday.
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