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NC State opens ACC play with another down-to-the-wire game. Louisville tops Wolfpack

·3 min read

Good or bad, N.C. State has shown a flair for the dramatic.

Wednesday night it was a four overtime win over Nebraska after being down 14. Saturday against Louisville, the Wolfpack took a late lead, but the Cardinals had not one, but two prayers answered in the final minute during their 73-68 win.

As the shot clock was ticking down Matt Cross hit a corner three with 26 seconds remaining, breaking a 68-68 tie.

Moments earlier Noah Locke did a similar thing, nailing a deep three as the shot clock was near zero. Locke’s three tied the game at 68.

N.C. State found itself down 12 in the second half. It fell behind by as many as 15 in the first half. If nothing else, the Wolfpack has proven that a double-digit lead by the opponent is never safe. N.C. State went on a 10-0 run to pull within two, igniting the crowd — the biggest of the year — at PNC.

Ebenezer Dowuona gave N.C. State its first lead of the second half, 53-52, with a layup. Dowuona was a surprise spark offensively. The Ghana native has filled in for center Manny Bates and has picked up the shot blocking presence that Bates was. But for the second straight game, he got touches in the second half that led to big baskets.

Moments later Terquavion Smith scored on a layup and Dereon Seabron, the team’s leading scorer, drove to the hoop for a dunk and followed that with a layup while being fouled. Seabron missed the free throw and Louisville’s Jae’Lyn Withers completed a three-point play on the other end. Jericole Hellems, who was hit with foul trouble in the first half, hit a three for State to keep the energy high and the lead at five with 7:24 remaining.

But the Cards outscored the home team 16-6 in the final seven minutes to steal the win. The Pack missed its final four field goal attempts.

Here’s what we learned.

SHORT HANDED

N.C. State hasn’t had Manny Bates or Greg Gantt all season. The rotation got even shorter when guard Casey Morsell came out in a walking boot. Morsell, a transfer from Virginia, injured his ankle Wednesday night against Nebraska. Keatts told the media Friday that Morsell’s MRI didn’t show any breaks and junior would be a game time decision. Morsell came out for warm ups with a walking boot on his foot. Keatts played nine players in the first half and seven of them played 10 minutes or more.

N.C. State had to go long stretches of the first half without Cam Hayes and Hellems on the floor after both players picked up two fouls.

GOOD TERQUAVION

The Wolfpack got the good version of freshman guard Terquavion Smith. Smith, the 2021 Gatorade Player of the Year in North Carolina, had shot better than 50 percent in just one game this season — the opener against Bucknell. Since then he has struggled to find any shooting consistency. He settled down against Louisville, giving fans a glimpse of how talented he is. Smith finished with 17 points on 7 of 11 shooting.

SLOW DAY FOR SEABRON

N.C. State sophomore Dereon Seabron came into the game averaging 21.7 points per game. He started off slow for the Pack, perhaps explaining the double-digit halftime deficit. Seabron had just six points at the break, but finished with 11.

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