INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Mangok Mathiang scored 18 points and Deng Adel added 16 Friday to help second-seeded Louisville pull away from Jacksonville State 78-63 in the first round of the Midwest Regional.
The Cardinals (25-8) have won five straight opening round games. Louisville was making its first postseason appearance since 2015 after sitting out last year because of a one-year, school-imposed postseason ban for alleged recruiting violations.
Norbertas Giga scored 30 points for 15th-seeded Jacksonville State (20-15), which was one of a record five teams making their first tourney appearance.
And it was a bigger challenge than most expected.
But after trailing for the first 13 minutes, the Cardinals finally took the lead with an 8-2 late in the first half. It closed the half on a 9-4 spurt then opened the second half on 10-2 run to make it 48-33. Louisville led by double digits most of the rest of the game.