Gameday Recap: Louisville At NC State

The Louisville men’s basketball team won its fifth straight ACC opener on Saturday afternoon in a 73-68 road victory over NC State. Louisville is now 6-2 on the season. NC State fell to 6-2.

Malik Wiliams led all Cardinals with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Dre Davis added 11 points, 7 boards, and 3 assists. Noah Locke, Matt Cross, and El Ellis were all in double figures as well.

For NC State, Jericole Hellems led all scorers with 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Four different members of the Wolfpack scored in double figures.

It was all Louisville during the first half on Saturday. The Cards outscored NC 27-14 in the final 10 minutes on their way to a 43-29 halftime advantage. The second half was a totally different story as the Pack went on a 14-2 run of their own in the first six minutes out of the break. NC State even got out to a 5-point lead at the 7:32 mark.

Things stayed close for the remainder of the half. With things tied up at 68 in the final minute, in came Matt Cross.

Louisville then got a couple stops on its way to an ACC-opening win in Raleigh.

Extended Thoughts:

  • We saw just about the best possible version of Malik Williams on Saturday. He is always going to be the most consistent defender on the team, but he showed an impressive offensive presence in the conference opener. Hitting shots can do wonders for someone’s confidence. Malik made two three-pointers early and had a few other notable moments in his 12-point first half. When he is successful in the post it can really open things up for the rest of this team.
  • Dre Davis has a hot hand that must keep being fed until further notice. Davis was in doubles figures on Saturday for the fourth time in five games and has established himself as a legitimate scoring option in this rotation. At only 6-foot-5 he is in that weird position between guard and forward and so far it is evident that his best work is being done around the basket.
  • It seems that the coaching staff officially recognizes what it might have in El Ellis. Ellis played significant minutes on Saturday after his standout performance on Wednesday. The JUCO transfer has shown signs of his ceiling now and should only get more time as the season goes on.
  • Noah Locke came through once again late in the game for Louisville. He can be frustrating to watch, but it is pretty clear why he has the green light. The same should be said for Matt Cross.
  • The first half showed a glimpse into the capability of this new offensive system, Unfortunately, Louisville found itself in extended droughts in the second half. If I had to guess at this point, I’d say that inconsistency on that end is going to be a major theme for these Cards.
  • There were some positive individual takeaways on Saturday, but none of that would have mattered if Louisville lost a 14-point halftime lead. The Cards found a way to escape disaster and head home with a win. I still have no clue at all how good or bad this team is, but 6-2 is not a bad place to be.

Up Next:

Louisville returns home on Friday for its first matchup against Depaul since 2013. The game tips at 8:00 p.m. ET on ACC Network.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.