Raleigh, NC – The NC State men’s basketball team’s depth was on display Saturday night as its bench poured in a season-high 41 points to help the Wolfpack defeat Louisville, 76-69, in the final game inside PNC Arena for Abdul Malik Abu, Lennard Freeman, Allerik Freeman and Sam Hunt.
The win moved the Pack to 21-10 overall and 11-7 in the ACC, the best ACC record for NC State since 2012-13 and tied head coach Kevin Keatts for the most regular season wins as a first-year head coach. His 21 wins ties Everett Case, who went 21-4 in the 1946-47 season.
With the Pack now holding a 16-3 home record, it ties the most home wins since 2012-13 when it went 16-1 in Raleigh.
NC State featured a balanced attack with four double-figure scorers; Allerik Freeman added 16 points, Torin Dorn finished with 15 on 7-for-11 shooting, Braxton Beverly had 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting, including a 3-for-4 performance from beyond the arc. and Omer Yurtseven also had 13, going 5-for-12. Dorn also led the Pack in rebounding with eight while Allerik Freeman’s six assists led the team in that category. Yurtseven turned away five shots to tie his career-high in blocks.
NC State finished the game with nine steals. Yurtseven led the team with a career-high three.
Along with outscoring the Cardinals’ bench 41-12, the Wolfpack also took care of the ball and committed a season-low four turnovers compared to Louisville’s 15.
In a back-and-forth battle that featured 14 lead changes and seven ties, the Pack was first on the scoreboard after an Abu layup with 19:09 the clock. While the first half saw the score tied five times and the lead change six, the Pack went into the half with a 33-32 advantage.
The second half started off as the first ended with neither the Wolfpack or Cardinals gaining a clear advantage. Louisville had a 48-44 lead with 14:37 to go, but the Pack responded with a 13-0 run to take a 57-48 lead on a Beverly three-pointer with 10:03 to play.
The Cardinals would not go away though as a Darius Perry three-pointer brought Louisville to within two points, 64-62, with 4:30 to go. The Pack scored the next six points though to take a 70-62 lead.
The Pack shot just 16-of-26 from the foul line for the game, but hit 8-of-9 free throws in the final 1:33 to prevent the Cardinals from gaining any momentum for a comeback.
NC State now moves on to the 65th Annual ACC Tournament in Brooklyn, New York. The tournament runs from Mar. 6-10 inside the Barclays Center.