Dana Evans, No. 1 Louisville Upset by No. 4 NC State for 1st Loss of Season

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 2, 2021

North Carolina State center Elissa Cunane, left, warms up with teammates before an NCAA college basketball game against South Carolina Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, in Columbia, S.C. North Carolina State won 54-46. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
Sean Rayford/Associated Press

For the second time this season, No. 4 North Carolina State has knocked off the top-ranked team in the country. In this case, the Wolfpack pulled away from No. 1 Louisville to earn a 74-60 victory on the road Monday night.

The Cardinals' first loss came despite the best efforts of Dana Evans. The senior guard had a game-high 29 points.  

Louisville's supporting cast struggled to keep pace. Evans shot 10-of-22 from the floor. The rest of the team was 13-of-38.

NC State, on the other hand, had a more balanced offensive attack. Jakia Brown-Turner, Elissa Cunane and Jada Boyd had 16 points apiece, while Raina Perez chipped in with 15.

This was Cunane's first game in nearly a month. She had been out since a 76-57 win over Boston College on Jan. 3.

NC State didn't open a comfortable lead until the third quarter, but it was in control for nearly the entirety of the contest. The Wolfpack were ahead for 32:23 of the 40 minutes.

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Wes Moore's squad set the pace thanks largely to the dominance it enjoyed inside. NC State claimed a 44-29 edge in rebounding—including 13 offensive rebounds that turned into 11 second-chance points—and outscored Louisville 36-18 in the paint.

This season has been somewhat unpredictable, signified by the last remaining unbeaten team in the Top 25 going down. On Thursday, NC State suffered an overtime upset at the hands of Virginia Tech after having climbed to No. 2. Hours later, No. 3 Connecticut fell to No. 16 Arkansas. 

If the Wolfpack can hold off North Carolina on Sunday, then they'd be in a good position to move up in the rankings and have a strong claim to overtake Louisville for the top spot.