NC State is moving on in the ACC Tournament. The No. 10-seed Wolfpack were given all they could handle from No. 15-seed Louisville, but emerged victorious.

It was just a 1-point game at halftime and continued to be a close game until NC State pulled away in the final minutes for a 94-85 win. The Wolfpack will face No. 7-seed Syracuse on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Louisville’s Skyy Clark was the game’s high scorer with 36 points on 12-of-17 shooting from the field, including 7-of-9 from 3-point range. NC State was led by Casey Morsell’s 25 points.

Here are 3 takeaways from Tuesday’s first-round game:

Defense-optional 1st half balances out

If one hears, “Louisville shot 67%” in the first half, they would expect the Cardinals to have a significant halftime lead.

But NC State also shot well. The Wolfpack made 17-of-29 field-goal attempts in the first 20 minutes.

As a result, the defense-optional first half was a wash. The fact that neither team could stop the other from scoring made for a 46-45 first half in favor of the Cardinals.

Louisville probably feels like it should have been on track for a comfortable upset shooting 67% in the 1st half. NC State similarly likely feels like it should have been able to put the Cardinals away earlier with its 1st-half offensive effort.

NC State wins free-throw, turnover battles to get past Cards

Louisville finished as the better team shooting from the field. The Cardinals were even more efficient beyond the arc, making 10-of-18 3-pointers to the Wolfpack’s 7-of-19 triples.

NC State made up for those deficiencies in two key ways. The Wolfpack dominated at the foul line, going 33-of-40 to the Cardinals’ 11-of-11. It’s hard for any team to make up a difference of 30 free-throw attempts and a +22 point differential.

Louisville also turned it over 16 times to NC State’s 9 giveaways. Clark had particular turnover issues, losing it 6 times. The Wolfpack won points off turnovers 22-12.

So long, Kenny Payne?

Kenny Payne likely coached his last game at Louisville. Nothing is official, but it’s hard to see the Cardinal coach coming back from a season that ends with an 8-24 record and a first-round exit as the No. 15 seed in the ACC Tournament.

Before the conference tourney, Payne said he was focused on doing his job and not worried about his future. He expressed hope that his staff would be given some “runway” to turn things around, but that “runway” was likely only going to be granted had the Cardinals managed a miraculous run in Washington, D.C.

Payne Watch is officially on with Louisville’s season over.