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    NC State Upsets Louisville Basketball at Home 74-65
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    Considering the 34 degree game time temperature, it wasn’t hard to figure that the 8th ranked University of Louisville basketball Cardinals (20-5, 8-4 ACC) would give North Carolina State (15-11, 6-7) a cold reception. They are jilted partners, too, considering that they haven’t played each other in 27 years. Also, prior to Saturday’s Valentine match up, the Wolfpack had lost 5 of it’s previous 6 games. Things would change, though, as the Wolf Pack took down the Cards 74-65.

    Besides the obvious St. Valentine’s Day allusions, you know, with both teams wearing red, there were questions on the home side of the ball. The biggest question mark involved Wayne Blackshear. His hip injury bothered him last time out but Coach Rick Pitino said “We felt yesterday after practice that he would play.”

    Blackshear came out and was the star of the first half, scoring 14 on the strength of 3-4 from three point range. He didn’t seem to be slowed down while he was on the court in terms of movement, but something cooled him off and he finished the game with 19 points but was a non-factor for most of the second half.

    Also at question would be the status of Chris Jones. Pitino pulled his starting point guard on Wednesday even though, at that point, the game was still in doubt. He didn’t really comment further other than to say he wasn’t happy with his play. The last time Pitino benched Jones, he came back a house aflame. Whatever the issue was, the point guard turned things around.

    As with Blackshear, Jones played electrifying basketball, hitting 8 points in the first half and being most of the offense in the second half finishing with 20 points, 3 assists and 2 steals.

    North Carolina State paid so much attention to making sure Montrezl Harrell didn’t hurt them that they left Jones and Blackshear to have a field day. The Harrell concentration did hold the All American without a point in the first half. He had a workman like game when it was over with 7 points and 13 rebounds in his 39 minutes.

    The Louisville kept pace in the first half. But trouble was on the horizon. NC State out rebounded the Cards by 2 and scored 16 of their points in the paint. In the final analysis, they scored 16 more points that the Cardinals inside. “We didn’t get any paint touches,” Pitino said.

    The Wolf Pack were a scrappy team that didn’t come to be blown off the court. At halftime, Louisville led by a single point 31-30.

    It got worse in the second half as Blackshear went cold only scoring toward the end of the game when the outcome was pretty much decided. Terry Rozier ended up being a non-factor in the game was well in scoring 7 points which is 14 points off his average. To add insult, he also fouled out of the game.

    “We got dominated,” Pitino said. The lack of rebounding came back to haunt the Cards as well. the deficit increased in the second half and the Wolf Pack ended up out rebounding Louisville by 10 and outscoring in the paint by 16. “I’m disappointed but they were better than us,” the coach added.

    “We knew that NC State was a very good basketball team,” Pitino said. “They were the better basketball team. You gotta give them credit.”

    North Carolina State’s Anthony “Cat” Barber couldn’t be stopped. He poured in 21 points and his backcourt mate Trevor Lacey added 14. It would be a pretty happy flight home for the Wolf Pack.

    Next for Louisville, it’s on the road Wednesday for a 7pm game against arch nemesis Syracuse. They return to the KFC Yum! Center next Saturday against Miami. Tip off is at 2pm.

    Photos by: Tim Girton/Louisville.com

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    About Tim Girton

    Tim Girton writes about University of Louisville sports here at Louisville.com and his love for Louisville continues on his photoblog, called This Is Louisville.

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