- Associated Press - Saturday, January 7, 2017

ATLANTA (AP) - When Donovan Mitchell scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half Saturday to lead No. 9 Louisville to a 65-50 victory over Georgia Tech, it didn’t come as a surprise. For the Cardinals to make nine 3-pointers was a shock.

Louisville (13-3, 1-2) was hardly troubled by delayed travel to Atlanta until Saturday morning because of wintry weather. The Cardinals beat Tech for the sixth straight time to become the final Atlantic Coast Conference team to pick up a league win.

“It was a little iffy there for a moment, but we made it,” said Cardinals assistant David Padgett, speaking on behalf of head coach Rick Pitino as Louisville officials said he had to go on a recruiting trip rather than meet media. “We don’t use the term ‘must win,’ but this was about as close to one as you can get.”

The Cardinals stymied the Yellow Jackets (9-6, 1-2) on the way to a 27-18 halftime lead, and stunned Georgia Tech with the shots from long range.

Mitchell is Louisville’s leading scorer, yet was shooting 29.7 percent from beyond the arc. After the Cards made 9 of 41 3-point attempts in ACC losses to Virginia and Notre Dame, Tech coach Josh Pastner stuck with mostly zone defenses.

It didn’t work.

Mitchell drained 5 of 7, and the Cardinals made 9 of 16.

“I was playing a little bit of the percentages,” said Pastner, whose team gave up 16 3-pointers Wednesday in a loss at Duke.

Quentin Snider added 12 points and seven rebounds for Louisville while Ben Lammers paced Georgia Tech with a career-high 24 points and nine rebounds. Josh Okogie scored 15 points for the Yellow Jackets.

Georgia Tech made just 1 of 8 from 3-pointrange, and Louisville blocked 12 shots.

Georgia Tech scored 12 straight points to pull within 41-38 on a dunk by Lammers, and the Jackets again were within three a minute later before Snider hit a 3. Mitchell added his fifth with 6:43 left in the game to push the Cardinals up 49-42.

Tech never again was that close.

BIG PICTURE

Louisville: After splitting games against No. 6 Kentucky (win), No. 12 Virginia (loss), No. 16 Indiana (win) and No. 23 Notre Dame (loss) in the previous four games, the Cardinals locked down on defense for all but about 5 minutes.

Georgia Tech: The Jackets were more competitive than in the 110-57 loss at No. 8 Duke, but offense continues to be a big problem.

HEATING UP

Mitchell’s fifth 3-pointer surpassed the career-high four he made in a 77-62 win over Indiana Dec. 31. “Coach (Pitino) said I was overthinking … just go out and play,” he said. “I took a lot of shots in practice that were falling, and it carried over into the game.”

SLOW START

Georgia Tech made just three of its first 15 shots, and didn’t score its 10th point until Tadric Jackson made a free throw with 6:27 left in the first half. Lammers and Okogie scored 39 of the Jackets’ 50 points. Starting seniors Quinton Stephens and Josh Heath were a combined 0 for 7, and four guards other than Okogie were 2 of 17. Jackson was 1 of 10.

“We’re fighting like crazy,” Pastner said. “Quentin’s giving every ounce of energy that he’s got. Tadrick’s trying, but we just need another scorer.”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Having lost 77-74 Wednesday at No. 23 Notre Dame, Louisville may not impress voters much with the win over Tech, but with recent wins over No. 6 Kentucky and No. 16 Indiana, the Cards are not likely to fall far in Monday’s rankings.

DENG INJURED

Louisville starting forward Deng Adel left the game with an apparent head injury with just under 5 minutes left in the first half soon after Lammers blocked his shot and then took a rebound after another miss by Deng. A trainer helped him up and off the court. Louisville officials said Deng took a blow to his head, and is likely to be evaluated for a concussion. He made Louisville’s first two 3-pointers.

UP NEXT

Louisville will play the first of three consecutive home games Wednesday, when the Cardinals take on Pitt - one of just three teams nationally with two players averaging 20 or more points in Michael Young (22.7 ppg) and Jamel Artis (21.4).

Georgia Tech stays home for a Thursday game against Clemson, whom the Yellow Jackets have beaten two straight times and in three of the previous five.

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More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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