LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After letting its previous game slip from its grasp, Louisville got back on track with consistent scoring while its defense frequently disrupted Wake Forest’s offensive flow.
V.J. King and Quentin Snider each scored 15 points, Deng Adel added 14 and Louisville overcame a slow start to shoot 51 percent and pull away for a 96-77 victory against Wake Forest on Saturday night.
Seeking to rebound from Wednesday’s overtime loss at Miami, the Cardinals (16-5, 6-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed 17-8 before surging ahead with a 19-2 run that included 14 unanswered points. They followed with several runs to stretch a 42-33 halftime lead to 79-51 with 9½ minutes remaining and eventually lead by 31 in rolling to their fifth win in six games while handing the reeling Demon Deacons (8-13, 1-8) their seventh consecutive defeat.
Besides forcing 20 turnovers for 28 points, the Cardinals outscored the Demon Deacons 42-15 in bench points and 19-4 on the break.
“Played pretty well offensively tonight,” Louisville interim coach David Padgett said. “I thought our full-court press got us going, got us back in the game. We kind of came out a little flat defensively to start the game. But our bench did an unbelievable job tonight, really came in and gave us a huge boost.”
King, Snider and Adel helped set the example for Louisville.
King made 7 of 9 from the field while Snider was 5 of 7, including 3 of 4 from behind the arc. Adel made 2 of 3 from long range and 6 of 13 overall as the Cardinals made 10 of 25 3-pointers.
“When we get the ball moving from side to side a couple of times,” King said, “once we do that we get great shots, wide-open shots, our drives, kicks and sprint-aways. We find each other and get those great shots.”
Dwayne Sutton had a season-high 13 points and Darius Perry nine on three 3s to lead the reserves for Louisville, which registered its second-highest point total this season and avenged last year’s loss in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Chaundee Brown had 20 points, Bryant Crawford 19 and Doral Moore 16 with 13 rebounds for Wake Forest, which shot 48 percent, outrebounded Louisville 39-32 and committed 20 turnovers for 28 Louisville points. The Demon Deacons played without senior starting guard Mitchell Wilbekin, who injured his ankle this week.
“They took advantage of us, especially in the turnover department,” Wake Forest coach Danny Manning said of Louisville. “Transition defense, they outscored us by 15 there. Those are two categories that jump out right away.”
Sutton fell hard and crashed into the basket support after being fouled from behind by Bryant Crawford. He lay on the court for several moments before getting up and going to the bench. Malik Williams made two free throws in Sutton’s place.
Padgett said he didn’t think the foul was flagrant but added, “It’s one of those dangerous plays because he’s up in the air and the guy is just coming from behind. It’s one of those plays that could be a lot scarier, but luckily it didn’t turn out too bad.”
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons had chances to make it competitive early in the second half before following with several sloppy stretches that Louisville pounced on to put the game out of reach. Eleven of Wake’s turnovers came after the break. “I just felt like we didn’t come out and compete and have that same edge that we have been having,” Crawford said.
Louisville: The Cardinals shot 7 of 17 through nearly 10 minutes before closing the first half 10 of 16. They then made 8 of their first 11 in the second and at one point were shooting 68 percent before cooling down. They shot 50 percent in both halves and made 10 of 25 from long range.
Wake Forest: Hosts Florida State on Wednesday, seeking its first win against the Seminoles in six meetings.
Louisville: Visits No. 2 Virginia on Wednesday, looking to end a four-game losing streak against the Cavaliers.