Recap: Louisville vs. NC State

Syracuse, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Montrezl Harrell, Terry Rozier and seldom-used reserve Anton Gill helped the new guard take down the old one in a Sweet 16 ACC showdown.

 

Harrell netted 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting, Rozier added 17 points and 14 rebounds and Louisville knocked off North Carolina State 75-65 in the East Regional semifinals on Friday night.

 

"He's the toughest guy I've ever coached, and he never lets me down," Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said of Harrell.

 

It was the first time since 1986 that conference opponents squared off in the Sweet 16.

 

The fourth-seeded Cardinals (27-8), who made their ACC debut this season after a one-year stint in the American Athletic Conference, will face either Oklahoma or Michigan State in the Elite Eight Sunday.

 

Louisville's bench provided no production for nearly 35 minutes until Gill gave the Cardinals the spark they were looking for.

 

After Trevor Lacey's 3-pointer from the top of the arc staked NC State to a 54-53 edge with 7:19 remaining, Gill supplied seven of Louisville's next nine points, with his hanging floater giving it a 62-57 margin with 3:34 left.

 

"I just saw I had an opportunity. We had worked hard all season, and I didn't want to go home," Gill said.

 

The Wolfpack's reserves outscored the Cardinals' 13-0 prior to Gill's theatrics. He had played just two minutes combined during Louisville's first two tournament victories over UC Irvine and Northern Iowa.

 

"Our zone helped us, help us get back in the game, helped us take the lead, and he made a couple of tough shots there. I thought it was that little stretch that gave them the cushion, and it was the difference in the game," NC State coach Mark Gottfried said.

 

A pair of Rozier three-point plays in a two-minute span helped extend Louisville's margin to 70-59 with 1:00 on the clock, and NC State never got within less than eight the rest of the way.

 

Harrell was held to just seven points on a 1-of-5 effort from the field when these two teams met on Feb. 14. The Wolfpack beat the Cardinals 74-65 in Louisville.

 

Former Cardinals guard Chris Jones netted 20 points in that game but has since been dismissed from the team for an off-the-court issue. His replacement, Quintin Snider, scored 14 points for the Cardinals, who reached the Sweet 16 for a fourth straight year and are seeking their third Final Four appearance in four seasons.

 

Trevor Lacey had 18 points and Ralston Turner provided 12 for eighth-seeded NC State (22-14), which upset top-seeded Villanova in the third round to make it to the East Regional semis in Syracuse.

 

Wayne Blackshear, the first Louisville player to reach four straight Sweet 16s, netted six points during an 8-2 spurt to help the Cardinals build an 18-12 advantage midway through the half. Sixteen of their first 18 points came from the paint, while the Wolfpack registered just two points in the interior to that point.

 

NC State used a 15-5 swing during the latter stages of the half to open up a five-point cushion. After Lacey connected from beyond the arc to put the Wolfpack in front, Anthony "Cat" Barber corralled an offensive rebound while on the ground and kicked a pass out to Turner, who nailed a right wing triple to cap the surge for a 33-28 NC State margin.

 

Rozier quickly pushed the ball the other way and knocked down a pull-up trey from the right wing in the waning seconds of the period, trimming the gap to two heading into the break.

 

Louisville shot 50 percent (13-of-26) from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, while NC State was just 35.5 percent (11-of-31) from the field. But the Wolfpack were 5-of-10 from long distance and pulled down six offensive rebounds, three more than the Cardinals.

 

Barber, who went 0-of-7 from the field in the first half, potted a pair of early 3s in the second half for a 39-31 NC State lead.

 

Louisville, though, responded with a 16-2 burst. Harrell netted eight points during the flurry. Blackshear was fouled on a trey and sunk 2-of-3 from the charity stripe to cap the run and stake the Cardinals to a 47-41 spread at the 12:58 mark.

 

Lacey's triple finished off a quick 6-0 Wolfpack spurt give them their 54-53 edge.

 

Top-seeded Kentucky beat No. 5 seed and SEC foe Alabama to reach the Elite Eight in 1986 ... Pitino improved to 12-1 in Sweet 16 games in his career ... Louisville outscored NC State 44-32 in the second half ... NC State was 9- of-20 from beyond the arc.

 

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