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NC State pulls away for 76-64 win over Louisville

Dec 22, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA;  North Carolina State Wolfpack guard Casey Morsell (14) shoots a three pointer while guard El Ellis (3) tries to block him during the first half against Louisville Cardinals at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports

D.J. Burns racked up 17 points and Terquavion Smith sparked a huge second-half run for North Carolina State in a much-needed 76-64 victory against visiting Louisville on Thursday night at Raleigh, N.C.

Casey Morsell’s 15 points and Jack Clark’s 14 also came in handy for the Wolfpack (11-3, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who shot only 41.9 percent from the field. Smith finished with 14 points and Jarkel Joiner’s late offense resulted in 13 points as all five NC State starters scored in double figures.

NC State benefitted from Louisville’s 17 turnovers on the way to its third consecutive victory.

The Cardinals (2-11, 0-3) received 16 points from Sydney Curry and 15 points from El Ellis. Brandon Huntley-Hatfield had 12 points and pulled in 12 rebounds for Louisville, which shot 50 percent on 4-for-8 shooting from the 3-point line, but its guards were well-defended on the perimeter. Mike James added 10 points.

Morsell shot 5-for-7 on 3-pointers, outscoring the entire Louisville team from beyond the arc. Clark had team highs of eight rebounds and six assists.

The game was tied 33-33 before Smith made two 3-pointers in a 35-second span. That sparked the Wolfpack to a 17-0 run.

NC State was efficient during the scoring run, which lasted less than five minutes. Louisville scored on Curry’s basket on the opening possession of the second half and didn’t have another field goal until 10:58 remained in the game.

The Cardinals relied heavily on free throws during 10 minutes of the second half, but those weren’t enough to keep up. Els was 10-for-11 on free throws for the game.

NC State led 31-28 at halftime on the strength of three 3s from Morsell. The rest of the Wolfpack shot 1-for-9 on 3-pointers.

Louisville, which 11 minutes into the game held a 19-14 lead, kept it close despite nine first-half turnovers.

NC State improved to 2-3 in home games vs. Louisville since the Cardinals joined the ACC.

–Field Level Media