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Mitchell helps No. 18 Louisville beat Wake Forest

Donovan Mitchell, Devin Thomas

Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell (45) attempts a shot over the defense of Wake Forest’s Devin Thomas (2) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. Louisville won 65-57. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Freshman Donovan Mitchell had season highs with 18 points and eight rebounds in his first start and No. 18 Louisville held off Wake Forest 65-57 on Sunday night.

Chinanu Onuaku added 12 points, a career-high 15 rebounds and blocked four shots for Louisville (12-2) in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams. Damion Lee also had 12 points.

Bryant Crawford and Devin Thomas each had 14 points for Wake Forest (9-4).

Wake Forest trailed by eight at halftime, but tied it with 2:31 to play on 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.

Lee’s runner in the lane banked in with 1:01 left to put Louisville 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.

Ray Spalding’s dunk after picking up a loose ball gave Louisville a 53-42 lead with 7:45 left to play before an 8-0 Wake Forest run, capped by Mitchell Wilbekin’s 3 that caromed in off the backboard after rolling around the rim, made it a one-point game with 5:57 to play.

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.

Mitchell scored five of his 10 second-half points after the game was tied at 56. The 6-foot-3 guard started in place of Trey Lewis, who was recovering from a sprained ankle but did play, and hit 3 of 5 3s in the first half to finish with nine points.


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. The Deacs lost to Ohio State before beating UCLA in the third-place game.

Louisville: The Cardinals used their eighth starting lineup of the season. ... Pieces of confetti leftover from a Kid Rock concert on New Year’s Eve fell from the rafters throughout the game. Court attendants and managers scrambled to remove them, with coch Rick Pitino even picking up a piece midway through the first half.


Wake Forest: At Duke on Wednesday night.

Louisville: At North Carolina State on Thursday night