The Louisville Cardinals pulled away late in a 77-57 win at NC State on Saturday afternoon. Louisville is now 19-3 overall and 10-1 in the ACC. NC State dropped to 14-8 and 5-6. The Cards have now won eight straight since losing to Florida State on January 4th. NC State has lost three in a row.
Ryan McMahon led the Cardinals with 23 points and a career high seven made threes. McMahon started out 6-6 from long range and finished 7-10. Jordan Nwora finished with 14 points and 9 rebounds while shooting 8-8 from the free throw line. Fresh Kimble added 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists.
For NC State, CJ Bryce led the Pack with 15 points and 4 rebounds. Devon Daniels added 12 points and 5 boards. DJ Funderburk scored 11 points with 8 rebounds. NC State was held to 32.8 percent shooting from the field.
It was a sloppy start to the game for both teams on Saturday. Louisville was called for 5 fouls before the first timeout. The Cards turned the ball over 10 times in the first 10 minutes, and four different Cards had two fouls in the first half. NC State led 21-19 with seven minutes remaining in the first before a Ryan McMahon-led run pushed Louisville out in front. McMahon hit his first six three pointers in the first half. The only miss was in the final seconds as time was about to expire. McMahon scored 18 points in the half as Louisville led 41-26.
The Cards kept up their trend of struggling out of halftime. NC State went on a run to cut it to 48-43 within six minutes. It got down to four points at the 11-minute mark. Louisville finished the game on a 21-5 run and held NC State scoreless for the final 5:48 of the game.
This was a game that looked like it had upset potential early. Louisville was not getting any favorable calls on the road. The Cards could not hold onto the ball and did everything to hand NC State the lead. The Wolfpack could not take advantage of it though and McMahon’s spurt was the difference in the first half. NC State sped things up in the second half, but Louisville adjusted defensively and prevailed in spite of an all around sloppy performance.
You’re never happy to see a team struggle like Louisville did at the start of both halves. The Cards came through and got a 20-point win on the road in a tough ACC environment. This is a quadrant-1 win that was very much needed on Louisville’s resume. It’s no secret that this is a historically bad year for the ACC as a whole. Louisville has not slipped up though. They’ve won every game they were supposed to win in the conference. The Cards are still first in the league with a few tougher games coming up in the next couple of weeks. The more you watch this team, the more you think that they can do something special in this wide open college basketball season.
Louisville goes back home for a Wednesday night matchup with Wake Forest at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.