CRAWFORD | N.C. State pounds U of L in the paint, three quick th - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | N.C. State pounds U of L in the paint, three quick thoughts

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — All season, the University of Louisville basketball team hadn't suffered what could be termed a “bad loss.”

Now it has.

The Cardinals were out of rhythm on offense for most of the game, and could not stop N.C. State inside as the Wolfpack beat the Cards 74-65 in the KFC Yum! Center.

N.C. State had lost five of its past six. It also has a win over Duke under its belt. It played exceptionally clean basketball on the offensive end, and U of L's guards had a poor night. 

Chris Jones and Terry Rozier combined to go 8 of 27. But what had U of L coach Rick Pitino steamed was the defense.

"In past years when we shot poorly like this, our defense could carry us through," he said. "But it didn't tonight. We got dominated. We're not getting any of our defensive stats. We don't come close to our deflections. Unfortunately, we don't turn people over. . . . We can't complain, because they were the better basketball team. They were better. They were better at almost every, single position, so you've got to give them credit. Whether we make shots or not, we never get our deflection totals, we never get our steal totals, we don't get our offensive rebound totals. When you shoot 32 percent, that means, if you offensive rebound, you get back in the game. I'm disappointed, but they were better than us."

1. HOT START, THEN SILENCE. Wayne Blackshear was on fire to open the game, made four if his first five shots, and had 11 points quickly. But he had only 14 at half and didn't take his first shot in the second until just over four minutes remained in the game. It wasn't until the final two minutes that Blackshear got much involved in the offense again, scoring in the paint, then draining a three. But it was too late. Jones and Rozier took plenty of shots, but created little. As a team, U of L made 9 of its first 13 shots. It then missed 13 in a row, and never got itself back together offensively.

2. HARRELL GOT EVEN LESS. Montrezl Harrell was scoreless in the first half and had only six points with less than three minutes remaining. N.C. State did a good job playing him physically on the defensive end, and the number of touches he got with a chance to do anything were minimal.

3. POOR IN THE PAINT. N.C. State outscored the Cards 32-16 in the paint. That close-proximity shooting accounted for their nearly 50 percent second-half shooting. The Cards' big men found themselves having to rotate to help when N.C. State's guards penetrated, but nobody helped the helper. And offensively, the Cards didn't get many good looks in the paint, and when they did, they often missed. They made just one of seven layups in the second half.

"We didn't get any paint touches," Pitino said. "You'll find that we're shooting a low percentage when we don't paint touch and you know we constantly didn't pass the ball inside to Montrezl on a duck-in, but overall we got a lot of good shots. The offensive rebounding -- the lack of offensive rebounding -- killed us."

The Cardinals got just five offensive rebounds in the second half and just one second-chance point."

N.C. State was led by Cat Barber with 19 points. Trevor Lacey had 14. The Cardinals forced only eight turnovers and scored just seven points off them.

Jones had 20 to lead U of L.

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