CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — London Perrantes is Virginia's lone senior and unquestioned team leader, but there's very little rah-rah in his style.
When the No. 12 Cavaliers need a lift, Perrantes turns to junior forward Isaiah Wilkins, who prides himself on being that guy.
Perrantes scored 18 points and Wilkins added 13 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks Monday night as the Cavaliers beat short-handed No. 4 Louisville 71-55. Virginia trailed 34-32 at halftime, but took command with a 22-5 run that made it 54-39 midway through the half.
"Energy is huge," Perrantes said. "When we need it, I look to him to bring it out of everybody."
That includes the crowd, which is especially fond of blocked shots and rim-rocking dunks, two Wilkins specialties.
"I feel like I've been that guy since I got here," he said of his energy responsibilities. "My role has been energy in some way, shape or form. I don't feel like I was doing a good enough job of it in the first half. It might be me screaming, hyping guys up, different things like that.
"I wear my heart on my sleeve and that's who I am," he said.
The Cavaliers (18-5, 8-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) beat Louisville for the fourth consecutive time, including a sweep of the season series, and moved into a tie for second with No. 14 Florida State in the league.
Freshman V.J. King scored a career-high 24 points for the Cardinals (19-5, 7-4), whose three-game winning streak was snapped. Donovan Mitchell added 16.
The Cardinals were without their second- and third-leading scorers, with guard Quentin Snider (12.1 ppg) out with a hip flexor and forward Deng Adel (11.1 ppg) and center Mangok Mathiang (7.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg) suspended for missing curfew Saturday. Reserve guard Tony Hicks also missed the game with a broken bone in his hand, leaving coach Rick Pitino with just seven scholarship players.
"I think it was a factor," he said when asked about fatigue, "but we took really good shots in the first half, moved the basketball. In the second half, we reverted back to AAU basketball, just jacking up shots."
Louisville led 34-32 at the half but a 3-pointer by Perrantes got Virginia going on the big run to open a 54-39 lead.
Louisville: The Cardinals are now the highest ranked team in a very rugged ACC and will get presumably get Adel and Mathiang back from their one-game suspensions before their next game. If nothing else, King may have shown coach Rich Pitino that with more than 14.5 minutes per game, he might be ready to provide more of an offensive spark than previously. He was 8 for 14 from the field and 3 of 5 on 3-pointers.
Virginia: The Cavaliers once again got back to basics — defense and patience on offense — but also continued to be uncharacteristically sloppy with the ball, committing 14 turnovers after having 15 against Syracuse on Saturday. Many of them have come from trying to force the ball inside, an issue coach Tony Bennett is sure to address with five days to practice before they play again.
Virginia came into the game having taken 48 fewer free throws than its opponents in its first 10 ACC games, and 60 fewer in all games. In its loss at Syracuse on Saturday, the Orange finished 13 for 20 from the foul line, and the Cavaliers were a paltry 2 for 5 in a 66-62 loss.
That wasn't the case against the Cardinals as Virginia finished 18 of 20 from the line, and Louisville was 10 of 15.
"There were opportunities and we did try to attack and touch the paint," Bennett said.
"I don't want to hear. Don't mention his name to me. That's all I got. Thank you everyone." — Pitino when asked about backup center Mathiang after the Cardinals' loss at Virginia.
Louisville returns home after a two-game road swing to face Miami on Saturday afternoon.
Virginia continues a very challenging stretch, travelling to state rival Virginia Tech on Sunday.
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