N.C. State beats Louisville 94-85 in the first round of ACC tourney, spoiling Clark's 36-point night

Published Mar. 12, 2024 7:21 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) — Casey Morsell scored 25 points, Jayden Taylor had 18 points, eight rebounds and four steals and No. 10 seed North Carolina State beat No. 15 seed Louisville 94-85 on Tuesday night in the first round of the ACC Tournament, spoiling a 36-point performance by Skyy Clark.

N.C. State (18-14) advances to play No. 7 seed Syracuse in the second round on Wednesday. The Wolfpack lost both regular-season meetings with the Orange, 77-65 on the road and 87-83 at home.

Clark made a 3-pointer on back-to-back possessions to tie it at 75-all with 4:50 to go and set a career-high in scoring with 30. But Taylor answered with two straight makes from distance to give N.C. State an 81-77 lead.

N.C. State made 11 free throws in the final three minutes to seal it. The Wolfpack finished 33 of 40 from the stripe, with 13 straight makes by Morsell. Louisville was 11 of 11.


Michael O’Connell added 16 points, DJ Burns Jr. scored 12 and Ben Middlebrooks had 11 for N.C. State. DJ Horne, N.C. State’s leading scorer at 16.8 points per game, did not play due to a hip injury.

Clark finished 12-of-17 shooting, including 7 of 9 from 3-point range, for Louisville (8-24), which ended the season on an eight-game losing streak with coach Kenny Payne’s future in question. Brandon Huntley-Hatfield had 17 points and seven rebounds, and Tre White added 13 points.

Louisville led by as many as 12 points in the first half before having its lead trimmed to 46-45 at the break after turning it over nine times. The Cardinals shot 66.7% in the first half, including 6 of 9 from 3-point range.

Louisville's first points from a reserve came on Curtis Williams' jumper from the free-throw line with 12:46 remaining in the second half to get within 61-54. Williams finished the five points — the only bench points for the Cardinals.

Clark, who entered with just 18 total points in his last three games, set a program record for single-game points in the ACC Tournament. His previous single-game high overall was 29 in a double-overtime victory over New Mexico State on Nov. 26.

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