N.C. State had some extra time off and extra confidence after a road win at Duke on Monday.
That didn’t matter at Louisville.
The Cardinals were hot from the 3-point line early and cranked up the defensive pressure all game long to blast the Wolfpack 85-60 on Sunday.
N.C. State (14-8, 3-6 ACC) couldn’t get freshman guard Dennis Smith Jr. going (season-low eight points) and had equal problems in cracking Louisville’s press and checking the Cardinals from the 3-point line.
Never miss a local story.
The Cards (18-4, 6-3 ACC), coming off of a 55-point win at Pittsburgh on Tuesday, drained nine 3-pointers in the first half to jump out to leads of 28-13 and 43-28 by the half.
The second half was just one long contest to see how many wide-open shots, and dunks, Louisville could pull off.
N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried called a timeout after one sequence where forward Ted Kapita was supposed to be playing the back of the zone and left a wide-open lane for Mangok Mathiang (14 points) for a dunk.
With 36 NBA scouts in attendance, Louisville sophomore guard Donovan Mitchell outplayed Smith with 28 points and led the 3-point parade.
Mitchell went 7-of-8 from the 3-point line in the first half while helping to hold Smith to four points at the break.
Smith, coming off of a 32-point performance in Monday’s 84-82 win at Duke, never could get into any kind of rhythm. He didn’t take a shot until the 14:00 mark and didn’t score until he had a steal and layup at the 11:37 mark.
It was the first time Smith, who averages 19.5 points per game, didn’t score in double-figures.
Smith even picked up a technical foul after being fouled by Louisville guard Ryan McMahon at 10:01 in the first. Smith tossed the ball in McMahon’s direction instead of back to referee Brian Dorsey.
Mitchell scored Louisville’s first 14 points of the game as the Cards chewed up N.C. State’s matchup zone. After Louisville used a 13-0 run to take a 21-9 lead, Gottfried switched to a man defense.
The Cards had equal success against the man look. Mitchell buried a wide-open 3 from the right corner. He was outdone, in terms of time and space to shoot, by David Levitch at the 1:35 mark.
Louisville, one of the best defensive teams in the country, entered the game ranked No. 180 in the NCAA in 3-point shooting percentage (35.1). The Cards cooled off in the second half (3-of-8) but still made 50 percent of their 3s.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio