UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Louisville came into Sunday’s game with No. 24 North Carolina riding high on a 21-game winning streak.
Coach Rick Pitino says he hopes the defending national champions leave with a bit of humility after a 93-84 loss to the Tar Heels in the final of the Hall of Fame Tipoff tournament.
“I think this loss is really good for us tonight,” he said. “I think that last year we were one of the most humble teams. To win 16 in a row you have to have great humility, not get stuck on yourselves. And this type of defense, it was a lack of humility.”
It was also a lot of Marcus Paige. The UNC guard scored 32 points, putting up a career high for the second straight day in the tournament.
He had 26 Saturday in a win over Richmond.
Brice Johnson added 13 points and Kennedy Meeks had 13 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for the Tar Heels (4-1), who lost a week ago at home to Belmont.
“We just wanted to come here and give better effort. We had a bad taste in our mouth, cause we had to watch the whole film of the Belmont game,” Paige said. “We wanted to come here with the mindset that we can change our season and get back in the right mind frame that we’re one of the best teams in the country if we play together and hard.”
Russ Smith had 36 points for Louisville (5-1). Chris Jones added 20 points.
It was a three-point game with just over 13 minutes left when Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell picked up his fourth foul. North Carolina scored the next eight points.
Harrell fouled out driving to the basket with 7 1⁄2 minutes left, exiting the game with just five points and 10 rebounds. With the sophomore star out of the game, North Carolina pushed the lead to 16 points at 83-67, outmuscling the Cardinals under the basket.