LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Doing good chances on the imperfect line was satisfactory enough for No. 23 Louisville.
Cardinals also took the heart in creating these opportunities with timely takeaways that gave the edge towards No. 21 North Carolina State.
Christen Cunningham scored 1
Back in the top 25 for The first time since the beginning of last season, the Cardinals (14-5, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) scored from all the downs to earn their fourth consecutive victory. They managed the foul line, which made 24 of 29 and closed the game by sinking 9 out of 10 to win a close matchup against Wolfpack (15-4, 3-3).
Ryan McMahon's two make back a 79-75 with 46 seconds before Cunningham and Williams each made their two shots to an eight point edge. Cunningham made 1 out of 2 with 11.2 seconds back to the final margin.
"We feel very fortunate to get to the line 29 times," said Louis Mills coach Chris Mack. "We felt that if we were strong with the ball, we could get to the line."
The cardinals were certainly bad at getting the ball when they had to, perhaps the biggest key to surviving Wolfpack.
They scored 37 points out of Wolfpack's high-season 23 sales, the last of which was Braxton Beverly's errant pass that went beyond the limits by 38 seconds. It led to Cunningham's two free throws five seconds later to make it 81-75 before Williams was fouled and grabbed a rebound that led to his shot.
"It was just making the commitment in the defensive end, and we realized we had to stop playing one-on-one," Cunningham said. "Khwan (Fore) forced (Beverly) to just throw the ball against the scorer table with the game on the line. I think it was just to lock and lock on the defense."
N.C. State coach Kevin Keatts did not argue for the effect of this approach.
"The story of the game was we turned the ball over 23 times, which is not characteristic of us," added Keatts, a former Louisville assistant under Rick Pitino. "
Jordan Nwora had 13 points and Dwayne Sutton and Steven Enoch each added 10 to complete Louisville's balanced effort. McMahon and Khwan Fore had nine points.
Beverly scored 19 points, Torin Dorn had 18 and CJ Bryce 15 for NC State, who deleted deficits of 10 to tie the game before getting closer later, but Beverly's two mistakes and a last-minute turnover gave the cardinals they converted.
Wolfpack played a third consecutive game without junior guard Markell Johnson because of back injuries. He traveled with the team, but was warming up during the game. "" We put him through gunpowder today and I thought he was about 65 percent, "Keatts added. well about it. "
NC State has a chance to regroup against Clemson to be placed. Louisville may rise with another ranked win, but how high depends on beating Pittsburgh.
NC State: The Wolfpa ck ended 12 out of 27 from long range and seemed to get one when needed to kick a race and tie the game. They also fought Louisville 38-26 with a 30-28 scoring edge in the paint, but faltered in the last few minutes losing for the third time in five games. They were no match for the Cardinals to come to the line, which made 5 of 7.
Louisville: After winning their last three with two digits, the Cardinals used free throws to win with seven this time. Their bench also outscored wolfpack 21-11, no small feat against a team that entered the competition with a 17.8-point margin in that category.
North Carolina State: hosts Clemson Saturday in the lone season meeting between schools.
Louisville: Hosts Pittsburgh on Saturday, seeking to avenge an 89-86 overtime strike on January 9.
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