NC State survived against Louisville in a game that was competitive throughout its duration. To help secure the 76-69 victory, the Wolfpack benefited from a balanced scoring attack.
Allerik Freeman posted 16 points despite a 3-for-13 shooting game. He did manage to go 9-11 from the line in addition to having six rebounds and six assists. During his single year with State, it’s been nice to see Freeman evolve from a scorer to a solid complete player. Omer Yurtseven had 13 points to go with five blocks. Torin Dorn put up 15 points on 7-11 shooting and Braxton Beverly made three triples to help total 15 points himself.
I never felt extremely comfortable in this game since State’s free throw shooting seemed to counteract Louisville’s high turnover total. The Cardinals committed 15 turnovers compared to four by the Wolfpack. However, State went just 16-26 from the line. They shot 44.1 percent from the field overall. Louisville shot 44.6 percent in the game.
The Wolfpack do deserve credit for posting such a low turnover number on senior night, however. The energetic juices are typically flowing high in such a game. Furthermore, State was able to close this game without committing the senseless type of turnovers leading to a collapse that may have occurred under past unnamed coaches (cough, cough).
Speaking of the seniors, Abdul-Malk Abu and Lennard Freeman didn’t have much of an impact on Saturday. Nevertheless, both bigs have seemed to accept their roles during this season and it was nice to see them in the starting lineup. It’s especially hard to believe Abu’s four years in a State jersey have already passed by. Sam Hunt seemed to enjoy his last home game for the Pack as he celebrated his only made three with a little dance.
For Louisville, Deng Adel kept the Cardinals in it with 20 points on 7-15 shooting. Ray Spalding and Quentin Snider each had 12 points. Louisville going 14-15 on free throws and outrebounding the Wolfpack by a 38-30 margin also kept the contest competitive in spite of the massive turnover difference.
I felt that State should've been considered a virtual tourney lock prior to today’s game. That’s neither here nor there, however, since few could argue their tourney chances now. Right?? That’s what I’m choosing to believe. Being able to actually look forward to Selection Sunday for the first time in a couple of years is an awesome feeling.
State will now play for NCAA Tournament seeding of sorts as they enter the ACC Tournament next week.