Rushed Reactions: #4 Louisville 75, #8 North Carolina State 65

Posted by Tommy Lemoine on March 27th, 2015

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Three Key Takeaways.

Louisville game up big with the big plays down the stretch. (Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports)

Louisville came up big with big plays down the stretch to beat the Wolfpack. (Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports)

  1. In game defined by runs, Louisville went on final spurt. North Carolina State took an early 10-6 lead, which was followed by a 10-2 Louisville run. Shortly thereafter, the Wolfpack went on a 14-5 spurt, at which point the Cardinals responded with 14 of the next 16 points and…you get the point. After back-and-forth momentum swings and scoring bursts throughout the first 30-plus minutes of game time, Louisville’s late 12-3 run made the difference. Over the course of four minutes – shortly after the under-8 media timeout – Anton Gill, Montrezl Harrell and Terry Rozier broke North Carolina State’s zone and generated enough stops to grab the final advantage.
  2. Louisville dominated the paint. If North Carolina State’s 9-of-20 three-point shooting kept the game close, then Louisville’s 24-of-42 mark from inside the arc (57% 2FG) decided it. For most of the night, the Wolfpack had no answer for Montrezl Harrell on the block (24 points) and could not stop the Cardinals’ guards from penetrating; Rozier, Quentin Snider and Wayne Blackshear scored 35 of Louisville’s 75 points near the basket or at the free throw line. Even Mark Gottfried’s decision to play zone late in the contest could not stop Pitino’s unit from finding looks inside. Louisville’s defense also did a good job down low; North Carolina State shot just 35 percent from two-point land.
  3. Out of nowhere, Anton Gill became a hero. Entering tonight, Louisville’s Anton Gill was averaging just over two points per game and had not graced the scoring column since February 28. And it didn’t look like he was going to score against North Carolina State, either, until the sophomore guard – which the Wolfpack once tried to recruit – reeled off seven quick points late in the contest to put the Cardinals up for good. Afterwards, Gottfried basically said that Gill’s unexpected offensive outburst decided the outcome: “He made a couple tough shots there, and I thought that little cushion was the difference in the game.”

Star Player: Montrezl Harrell (24 points, seven rebounds). Louisville’s star forward played one of his best games of the season, shooting 9-of-12 from the field, knocking down 6-of-7 free throws (despite shooting 60 percent on the season) and doling out a season-high four assists. At various points in the contest, North Carolina State simply had no answer for the 6’8” junior.

Quotable: “They got better, too, after Chris Jones left.” – North Carolina State head coach Mark Gottfried, giving Rick Pitino and the Cardinals credit for reaching the Elite Eight despite losing their point guard and best three-point shooter, Chris Jones, late in the season.

Sights and sounds: Just minutes after opening tip, the lights in the Carrier Dome – one of college basketball’s older venues – briefly flickered, prompting a slight murmur from the crowd and eliciting flashbacks of Super Bowl XLVII.

What’s Next? Louisville will take on either Michigan State or Oklahoma on Sunday afternoon for a chance to reach its third Final Four in the past four years.

Tommy Lemoine (249 Posts)


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