- Associated Press - Saturday, January 30, 2016

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Last year, Louisville overcame a slow start at Virginia to make it competitive in the final minute. Saturday’s first matchup was a runaway from the jump and never got any better for the 16th-ranked Cardinals.

Louisville (17-4, 6-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) had its worst outing of the year, scoring just 14 points in the first half of a 63-47 loss to No. 11 Virginia.

Louisville managed just 13 first-half points last season in Charlottesville but made it a one-possession game with 18 seconds left before losing 52-47 on Feb. 8, 2015. That was the last time the Cardinals had scored less than 50 points before Saturday, which was far worse, as they finished with more turnovers (18) than field goals (16).

“We turned the ball over too much and you can’t do that against a Virginia team,” Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. “They played like an experienced basketball team. We played like a bunch of inexperienced guys that didn’t know what they were in for.”

Louisville shot a season-low 33 percent (16 of 49) from the field, including just 4 of 19 (21 percent) in the first half. The Cardinals made just six shots through 26 minutes, losing for the first time at home this season and having their four-game winning streak snapped.

Freshmen reserves Deng Adel and Ray Spalding led Louisville with 12 points each. Leading scorers Damion Lee and Trey Lewis combined for just 10 points.

Pitino said he could see a poor performance coming based on the way his team played defense in Wednesday’s 91-83 win at Virginia Tech and recent practices. He contrasted the way his Cardinals approached Saturday’s game to Virginia.

“Our mentality is to score,” Pitino said. “Their mentality is to execute and stop. They deserve all the credit. Obviously, we got our brains beat in because we have that wrong mentality.”

Louisville won’t have much time to dwell on the loss. The Cardinals host No. 2 North Carolina on Monday.

“”This game doesn’t define us,” Lewis said. “There’s no motivation needed. We got our butts kicked and now we have a big game coming up. It’s just time to strap ‘em up and play.”

Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill each scored 13 points as Virginia (17-4, 6-3) used its stifling defense in the rout to earn its fourth straight victory.

Defense figured to be the theme in this nationally televised matchup between the ACC’s two stingiest units and all of it belonged to Virginia as it held Louisville under 30 percent until late in the game.

The Cavaliers’ scrappy defense disrupted the Cardinals on nearly every possession and held their duo of Lee and Lewis scoreless through 20 minutes. Forward Chinanu Onuaku didn’t practice on Thursday because of illness and didn’t start. He wasn’t a factor with one point.

Louisville had almost as many turnovers (13) as points while trailing 29-14 at the break, with six coming during an early 7-minute span. Its 21 percent shooting half included a scoring drought of more than 7 1/2 minutes, a performance nearly similar to last year’s meeting in Charlottesville in which the Cardinals went 12 minutes without a point in the first half.

WHITE-WASHED

Pitino delivered on his promise of wearing a white suit for the program’s annual “White-Out” promotion but shunned basketball shoes like Bennett in favor of matching white loafers. The Cardinals donned their alternate “White Ice” uniforms with short-sleeves and their names in white and warmups with short sleeves and hoodies. Louisville fell to 6-4 in the promotion with Pitino wearing a white suit in eight of those games.

TIP-INS:

Virginia: The Cavaliers shot 58 percent. … Virginia improved to 3-4 on the road and 7-4 all-time against Louisville.

Louisville: Anas Mahmoud started at center for the first time since Dec. 12 vs. Eastern Michigan. … Among the 21,714 was six-time All-Star Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays, who was the featured guest at Friday’s leadoff dinner for Louisville’s baseball program.

UP NEXT:

Virginia: Hosts Boston College on Wednesday.

Louisville: Hosts No. 2 North Carolina on Monday.

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