An already rough first two months for the Louisville basketball team may have hit a new low on Wednesday thanks to a 79-63 home loss at the hands of NC State. The Wolfpack had entered the evening 1-4 in ACC play.
The Cardinals, who won a thriller in Raleigh back on Dec. 4, were unable to complete the regular season sweep of the Wolfpack thanks in large part to some absurd outside shooting from their guests and a lightning fast, momentum-shifting run in the first half.
A 32 percent three-point shooting team coming into the night, NC State exploded for a 12-of-25 (48%) performance from beyond the arc inside the KFC Yum Center.
The man most responsible for the outside assault was freshman guard Terquavion Smith. Smith, who also lit Louisville up at PNC Arena last month, drilled six of the nine three-pointers he attempted on his way to a game-high 24 points. Jericole Hellems, who also had a great first game of the Cards, was 5-of-7 from deep and added 19 points.
For the first two segments of the game, Louisville actually seemed to be on the precipice of a positive evening. They were outplaying NC State on both ends of the floor, and built an 18-15 lead that felt like it should have been even larger.
Then, seemingly out of thin air, the Wolfpack went on a 16-0 run that took just a little over two minutes to occur. U of L never really recovered.
Sydney Curry was pretty much the lone bright spot for Louisville. The reserve center scored a career-high 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field and also pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds, giving him the first double-double of his Cardinal career. Fellow reserves Noah Locke and Dre Davis were the only other U of L players in double figures, both scoring 13.
Louisville’s starting five of Jarrod West, El Ellis, Matt Cross, Samuell Williamson and Malik Williams combined to total just 11 points on 4-of-19 shooting from the field.
The 11 points by Louisville’s starters vs. NC State is the lowest total by a Cardinals starting five since Tom Giannini (4), Les Wright (0), Armin Willig (2), Billy Threlkeld (0), and C.T. Boone (1) combined for 7 points in a 41-10 loss to Kentucky Wesleyan on Feb. 13, 1933.
— Kelly Dickey (@RealCardGame) January 13, 2022
Entering Wednesday night, NC State was leading the ACC in both offensive rebounds and free-throws made. Louisville held the Wolfpack to a season-low five offensive rebounds and a season-low three made free-throws … and they lost by 16.
The first two months of this season have felt long. The next two months are going to feel longer.