Hurricanes drop opener to Louisville 87-74
Jordan Nwora scores 23, grabs 12 rebounds for No. 5 Cardinals
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Jordan Nwora went 4 for 6 from beyond the arc, and from above the basket he didn't miss.
Nwora threw in a dunk -- literally -- to go with his outside shooting, and totaled 23 points and 12 rebounds Tuesday to help the fifth-ranked Cardinals win their season opener at Miami, 87-74.
The Cardinals are touted as a potential Final Four team, and they lived up to the hype with a rout on the road against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent. Louisville led 72-40 before Miami rallied during garbage time.
Nwora, the preseason ACC player of the year, brought the Louisville bench to its feet when he leaped to make a one-handed catch and dunk in one motion on Ryan McMahon's alley-oop pass.
"I actually did not think he was going to be able to catch it," McMahon said. "I thought it was too bad of a pass. Somehow he snatched it out of the air and just threw it in the rim. He's a freak athlete. It was a real cool play."
Coach Chris Mack was more reserved in his review of the dunk.
"I don't rate those things," Mack said. "I'm just glad he didn't miss it. I would have made him run sprints."
The 6-foot-7 Nwora shot 8 for 16 and scored most of his points from the perimeter.
"Every time we left him open, even for a split second, he buried a 3," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said.
McMahon, a Florida native, sank three consecutive 3-pointers as Louisville scored 17 consecutive points during a four-minute span in the first half and never looked back.
McMahon scored 16 points and shot 4 for 7 from beyond the arc.
"He's an elite-level shooter -- as good as anybody in the country," Mack said.
Freshman Samuell Williamson made his Louisville debut with 13 points and five rebounds in 24 minutes.
"He doesn't look like a freshman on offense," Mack said.
Dwayne Sutton contributed 16 points for the Cardinals, who shot 54%.
Chris Lykes had 18 points and DJ Vasiljevic scored 16 for the Hurricanes.
"We need to make progress in all areas," Larranaga said.
He sent three freshmen into the game early in the first half, and they helped the Hurricanes score eight consecutive points to lead 16-9.
The Cardinals answered with their big run to surge ahead 26-16. A 9-0 run late in the half helped to make it 45-26 at halftime.
"We came out with some jitters, and once we settled down we were a little bit more comfortable," McMahon said.
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