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Miami can’t hold on to lead, fall to No. 4 Lousiville

Looking for a big ACC victory on the road, the Miami Hurricanes grabbed a 14-point first-half lead over Louisville on Saturday but weren’t able to hold on, as the fourth-ranked Cardinals rallied in the second half to win 71-66.

“They were the better basketball team tonight,” Louisville coach Rick Pitino said of the Hurricanes. “But we showed incredible character to win this game and I’m real, real proud of that. … We didn’t shoot well, we didn’t pass well. But then when the game was on the line, we did all of the above.”

As Louisville (20-5, 8-4 ACC) struggled from the field for most of the game, the Hurricanes (16-8, 6-6) calmly made shots at the beginning and in the clutch. But their biggest advantage came in the paint, where they initially outscored the Cardinals 14-0 on the way to owning that category 34-18.

But UM shot just 36 percent in the second half and missed several shots down the stretch.

“It kind of see-sawed for a while and they finished a little stronger than we did,” coach Jim Larranaga said.

Quentin Snider returned from an injury to score 13 points, including a big 3-pointer with 41 seconds remaining, and Deng Adel and Donovan Mitchell added 18 points each for Louisville .

The Cardinals had to fight back from the 14-point first-half deficit and finally drew even on Mitchell’s 3-pointer with 6:12 left, part of a 13-0 run for a 61-53 lead. Louisville’s surge included Adel’s four-point play.

Miami rallied to tie it at 61 with 1:56 left before Snider made two free throws and then the long 3 from the left side of the arc as he returned from a six-game absence with a hip injury.

“I just stepped in on the line and (Adel) made a great pass,” Snider said of his 3, “and I just stepped up and made the shot.”

Mitchell followed with three free throws before Jaylen Johnson made two with five seconds left to seal the victory.

“Once we started moving the ball and shots started falling,” Adel said, “that’s when we came back and our defense stepped up a little bit.”

Ja’Quan Newton scored 15 points to lead the Hurricanes, who had won four of five coming in. Freshman Bruce Brown added 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists and Kamari Murphy added 10. Davon Reed, who entered the game averaging a team-high 15.9 points per game for UM, was 3-for-12 from the field and was held to seven points.

Miami next plays host to Georgia Tech on Wednesday night. The surprising Yellow Jackets have Top 25 wins over ACC co-leaders North Carolina and Florida State, along with Notre Dame.

Noteworthy: Randall Bolton, 31, faces four charges after storming the court with 7:59 left in the first half. He went between the Ladybirds dancers and near Miami players as they circled on the court before several Louisville Metro Police Department officers quickly chased Bolton down, with one tripping the man before others subdued him near midcourt. No one was injured.

“I glanced up and there was someone, I believe in red, and we don’t normally wear red,” Larranaga said. “I had asked the coach and they just said it was some fan.”

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