- Associated Press - Monday, January 4, 2016

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - For the second time in two weeks, Wake Forest has had a legitimate chance to beat a ranked team turn into an eight-point loss.

The Demon Deacons rallied to tie No. 18 Louisville before poor free throw shooting sunk any chance at an upset Sunday night in a 65-57 loss in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.

On Dec. 22 at No. 6 Xavier, Wake Forest (9-4) blew an 18-point lead.

“Hopefully, this game we finally realize we can’t keep letting these opportunities slip by,” senior forward Devin Thomas said. “These are resume builders. We win those two games (and) we’re easily in the Top 15.”

Wake Forest trailed by eight at halftime on Sunday, but tied it with 2:31 to play on Bryant Crawford’s 3-pointer from the left wing. Crawford turned to silence the crowd with a finger to his lips after hitting the shot, but the Demon Deacons hit just one of their six free throws after that.

Crawford and Thomas each had 14 points to lead the Demon Deacons.

Damion Lee’s runner in the lane banked in with 1:01 left to put Louisville (12-2) up 60-56. The Cardinals led 63-57, and Crawford missed three free throws with 17.8 seconds left.

The Demon Deacons finished 3 of 12 from the free throw line, while Louisville was 10 of 14.

“We’ve got to execute better, take better shots and when we get to the free throw line, make them,” said Bryant, a 78-percent free throw shooter coming into Sunday.

Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell had season highs with 18 points and eight rebounds in his first start and Chinanu Onuaku added 12 points, a career-high 15 rebounds and blocked four shots.

Onuaku carried the Cardinals early as they scored 14 of their first 18 points in the paint. He finished the first half with 10 points, nine rebounds and three blocks and hit his first five shots, finishing 6 of 9 from the floor. He was also responsible for slowing Thomas, who had a career-high 31 points last year against the Cardinals.

Louisville used a 10-0 run to lead 18-9 early.

“Tonight was a game where Louisville come out and delivered the first punch and we didn’t have enough left,” Wake Forest coach Danny Manning said.

TIP-INS:

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons outscored Louisville 12-0 on fast-break points. … Wake Forest is 7-0 this season in games decided six points or fewer. None of their wins have come by more than 10 points. … Sunday marked Wake Forest’s first trip to Louisville since playing at Freedom Hall in the 1962 Final Four.

Louisville: The Cardinals used their eighth starting lineup of the season. … Sunday was Louisville’s first win this season by fewer than 20 points.

MILLER-McINTYRE STILL RECOVERING

Senior point guard Codi Miller-McIntyre got just his second start of the year after returning from a mid-October foot fracture. The four-year starter averaged 14.5 points and more than four assists a game last season.

“You don’t get it back overnight,” Manning said, using his own injury history as a player as a guide. “You’ve got to keep chucking ahead.”

UP NEXT:

Wake Forest: At Duke on Wednesday night.

Louisville: At North Carolina State on Thursday night.

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