Sometimes you gut out a comeback from down double figures only for that not to be enough. That was the case for NC State this afternoon, thanks to some timely (and fortunate) three-pointers from Louisville in the closing minutes,
Noah Locke buried a deep three from the wing as the shot clock expired to pull Louisville even at 68 with 90 seconds left, and then Matt Cross knocked down a three from the corner as the shot clock expired to give Louisville the game winning-points with 30 seconds to go. So it goes.
Pace and Efficiency
Those were tough shots, but the real problem was NC State being stuck on 68 points for the final three minutes. Jericole Hellems’ three to give the Pack a 68-64 lead with 3:02 remaining proved the end of the scoring for State. NC State managed to score only six points over the last seven minutes, and that’s usually not going to be good enough.
But give this group, which is growing increasingly shorthanded by the week, a lot of credit for erasing a 14-point halftime deficit. State played great offensively over the first 10 minutes of the second half, going from down 43-29 to up 53-42 after an Ebe Dowuona make with 10:11 remaining.
Terquavion Smith provided a nice spark over that stretch, Jericole Hellems knocked down some jumpers, Dereon Seabron finally started to make some things happen, and State was in business with a five-point lead with eight minutes left.
There the offense dried up, though, and the problem as usual was settling for a lot of jump shots. This is not a good jump shooting team at 100 percent, and it definitely isn’t a good jump shooting team with Casey Morsell out and Thomas Allen playing through injury. Give credit to Louisville, which is a good defensive club, but State can’t fall into a trap that results in nearly half its field goal attempts coming from beyond the arc. That just ain’t gonna work.
The Pack will have a few days to think about this one, and perhaps get slightly healthier, before returning to the court against Bethune-Cookman on Thursday.