Quentin Snider scored a career-high 21 points to help No. 16 Louisville beat North Carolina State 77-72 on Thursday night.
Freshman Ray Spalding had 12 points off the bench for the Cardinals (13-2, 2-0 ACC). They shot 51 percent and used a 9-0 run in the second half to build a double-digit lead before having to hang on against a frantic comeback by the Wolfpack.
The Cardinals led by 16 with 3:38 left only to see the Wolfpack (10-5, 0-2) crawl to 75-72 on Anthony "Cat" Barber's three-point play with 16.8 seconds left.
But Damion Lee hit two free throws with 3.5 seconds left to seal it, holding on in a finish that was much tighter than expected.
Barber scored 20 points to lead N.C. State. The Wolfpack fell to 0-2 in the ACC for the first time under fifth-year coach Mark Gottfried.
N.C. State appeared headed to a blowout loss when Snider hit two free throws to make it 71-55 with 3:38 left, but the Wolfpack eventually got two 3-pointers from Caleb Martin followed by another off a turnover from Maverick Rowan that closed the gap to 71-67 with 40.4 seconds left.
Barber got the Wolfpack even closer with his three-point play and had a chance to tie when Lee missed two free throws.
But Barber collided with defender Chinanu Onuaku on a drive in the paint — the referees said Onuaku went straight up — and the ball went out of bounds. The call was originally for N.C. State with 7.5 seconds left, but referees reversed it after a replay and said it went off N.C. State.
Lee was fouled on the inbounds and hit the clinching free throws, finishing with 13 points on the night.
Louisville: Onuaku had 12 points and 14 rebounds. ... The Cardinals beat the Wolfpack in last year's NCAA Sweet 16. ... Louisville made 7 of 13 3-pointers.
N.C. State: Rowan scored 17 points, and Abdul-Malik Abu had 15 points and 12 rebounds. ... The Wolfpack shot 36 percent. ... N.C. State held a "blackout" with the home team wearing black uniforms.