Wolfpack unable to dig out of another hole in 73-68 loss to Louisville

NC State

North Carolina State guard Terquavion Smith (0) reacts following a basket against Louisville during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina State head coach Kevin Keatts was not surprised about his team’s start on Saturday against ACC-foe Louisville.

“We looked a little fatigued from the four-overtime (game),” said Keatts. “But once we settled in and started playing I thought we did a good job.”

For the second straight game, the Wolfpack battled back from a 14 point deficit but unlike their game on Wednesday versus Nebraska, the Pack was unable to finish the job.

The Cardinals got two, late, clutch 3-point shots while they held on for a 73-68 win.

“I thought they made two incredible shots at the end,” said Keatts.

The back-breaker came when Louisville’s Matt Cross hit a fadeaway three-pointer with just two seconds left on the shot clock to give the Cardinals the lead for good at 71-68 with 26 seconds to go.

“I definitely feel good about our team,” said Wolfpack freshman guard Terquavion Smith despite the defeat. “We’re growing, we’re a young team so as freshmen we’re learning new things. I feel like we’re in a good position right now.”

They most certainly are. The Wolfpack sits at six wins, and just two losses with four straight non-conference games on the horizon before the ACC meat grinder begins in late December.

“I’m just excited we’ve taken so many hits and are still able to go out there and perform,” said Jericole Hellems about the Pack’s ability to succeed despite a flurry of injuries.

The Pack has proven they are never out of a game. N.C. State has enough fire-power to come from behind like they did against the Huskers and Cardinals.

Keatts, though, wouldn’t mind seeing his guys get off to better starts.

“I think that it’s great that we’re fighting,” Keatts explained. “But I don’t want to be down 14 points every game just to prove we can come back. But this team has no quit in it.”

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