For David Johnson, Saturday was a coming-out party and one that could signal even better times ahead for No. 6 Louisville.
The 6-foot-5, 210-pound freshman scored a career-high 19 points to go along with seven assists, four rebounds and three steals in a 79-73 victory at then-No. 3 Duke. It was aperformance that helped the Cardinals stay in a first-place tie with Florida State in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Johnson will try to build on that outing Wednesday night, when the No. 6 Cardinals play host to Georgia Tech in another ACC clash at Louisville.
The highly touted Johnson had torn tissue in his left shoulder in late July and missed the season's first four games. Coach Chris Mack couldn't really afford to integrate him into the team's rotation when he returned, since the Cardinals were in a tough stretch of their schedule.
"I wish I would have had him Game 1, to start the year," Mack said. "He lost four months, and two of those months he couldn't do anything but ride a bike. He wasn't even allowed to run up and down the floor because of the motion with running.
"He's been moving in the right direction. I've been saying that for a while. You've got to take the good with the bad in the beginning. ... He's got a chance to do some special things."
Johnson's emergence gives Louisville (15-3, 6-1 ACC) one more weapon to go along with forward Jordan Nwora (19.6 points per game, 7.4 rebounds) and center Steven Enoch (10.7 ppg., 6.5 rpg.). The Cardinals have won four straight games since a Jan. 4 home loss to Florida State, including three in a row on the road.
Meanwhile, Georgia Tech (8-10, 3-5) is coming off back-to-back ACC home losses, including a 63-58 verdict Saturday night against Virginia. The Yellow Jackets have been competitive but haven't been able to reward themselves at the offensive end.
Georgia Tech, which ranks 340th out of 353 Division I programs in turnovers at 16.8 per game, coughed it up 13 times in the first half against Virginia. The Yellow Jackets ended the evening with 18 turnovers, negating a 50 percent shooting performance.
"I'll tell you one thing, you take away our turnovers, Georgia Tech would be a championship team," point guard Jose Alvarado said to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "We play so hard -- people know that -- and I'm just so tired of just coming up short. We're going to step our game up and we're going to try to get on a winning streak."
Alvarado did his part against the Cavaliers with 20 points to lead all scorers. Backcourt mate Michael Devoe is the Yellow Jackets' top scorer at 15.9 per game but took just three shots and scored six points in the loss to Virginia.
--Field Level Media