After capping off the month of January with a nice win over Boston College, the #6 Louisville Cardinals went back on the road to face NC State.
Thanks to an extraordinary shooting performance by Ryan McMahon, Louisville clawed the Wolfpack 77-57.
Cards fans and players have seen this kind of matchup before, a Louisville team that has been all over the place offensively vs. a team that absolutely, positively needs to start winning if they are to have a shot at the postseason.
And as usual the two teams stayed closed for most of the first half, thanks to poor shooting by both sides and a lot of Louisville fouls and turnovers.
The Wolfpack was up by two with just over seven minutes left in the half when Ryan McMahon hit four straight three-pointers to give Louisville a 31-21 lead.
McMahon would score 18 points in the first 20 minutes, including a career high 6-7 from the three-point line.
The Cards would increase the lead to 17 points before NC State scored a late bucket to make the halftime score 41-26.
The Wolfpack clawed back to get the deficit to single-digits, as low as four points with about 11 minutes left to go. But Louisville was able to turn things around and get it back up to double-digits.
The team with a lead has the advantage when people stop scoring, and there weren’t very many points scored in the last six minutes. But the Cards made their necessary free throws and kept NC State at bay to get the victory.
There were plenty of issues with this game, mainly fouls and turnovers. The Cards turned the ball over 18 times in the game, which their opponents turned into 13 points. Louisville also had 18 fouls, miraculously with no one fouling out.
The Cards still made a few more shots than they missed and dominated on the boards on their way to a win.
Ryan McMahon led all scorers with 23 points on 8-12 shooting, 7-10 from three-point range.
Jordan Nwora, who had a career-high 37 points against Boston College, only managed 14 this game. He almost made it a double-double though, pulling down nine rebounds.
Lamar “Fresh” Kimble was the only other Cardinal player to score in double-figures. Steven Enoch also pulled down nine boards.
Louisville moves to 19-3 for the season (10-1 ACC). NC State falls to 14-8 (5-6 ACC).
The Cards head back home to face Wake Forest on February 5.<