LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Cat Barber's surging self-assuredness could be the catalyst that alters the course of North Carolina State's season.
It was, at least, enough to spark Saturday's 74-65 win over No. 9 Louisville, the Wolfpack's second win against a top 10 conference opponent this year.
"My confidence keeps getting higher and higher," Barber said after scoring 21, his third 20-point effort in the past four games. "Coaches keep telling me, 'Be me. Be Cat and do what Cat does best.' I think I've taken that under consideration."
The sophomore point guard had no turnovers in a 51-47 loss three days ago to No. 2 Virginia and had just two late turnovers Saturday that coach Mark Gottfried chalked up to fatigue.
"Against their pressure, I though Cat was sensational," Gottfried said.
N.C. State (15-11, 6-7 ACC) had lost five of six, with all but one coming by five or fewer points. The tough defeats have worn on the Wolfpack, but Gottfried saw a different look from his players as they clung to a lead against the Cardinals, a sign that Barber may not be alone in his growth.
"I thought (Saturday) we had that look in our eye that we were going to win the game — that confidence," Gottfried said.
The Wolfpack held Louisville (20-5, 8-4) to 33 percent shooting and outscored the Cardinals 32-16 in the paint in a total performance not seen since N.C. State beat Duke on Jan. 11.
"We got dominated at all five positions," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said.
NO. 1 KENTUCKY 77, S.C. 43: Willie Cauley-Stein scored 14, Aaron Harrison added 11 and the host Wildcats (25-0, 12-0 SEC) matched the best start in program history, set by the 1953-54 squad.
NO. 2 UVA 61, WAKE 60: Anthony Gill scored 19 and Malcolm Brogdon stole the ball from Cody Miller-McIntyre to prevent a potential winning shot in the final seconds, preserving the win for the host Cavaliers (23-1, 11-1 ACC).
NO. 3 GONZAGA 56, PEPPERDINE 48: Kevin Pangos scored 19 for the host Bulldogs (26-1, 14-0 WCC), who won their 19th straight game.
NO. 4 DUKE 80, SYRACUSE 72: Jahlil Okafor had 23 points and 13 rebounds for his ninth double double of the season to lift the visiting Blue Devils (22-3, 9-3 ACC) to their fifth straight win.
NO. 6 VILLANOVA 68, NO. 18 BUTLER 65: Darrun Hilliard rallied the visiting Wildcats (23-2, 10-2 Big East) in the second half and hit a 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left. The Bulldogs (18-7, 8-4) could have forced overtime, but Kelan Martin's 3 from the left wing came up short at the buzzer.
NO. 8 KANSAS 74, NO. 16 BAYLOR 64: Kelly Oubre scored 18, including a clinching 3-pointer in the final minutes, and the Jayhawks (21-4, 10-2 Big 12) dug out of a 13-point first-half hole to improve to 13-0 against the Bears (18-7, 6-6) in Lawrence, Kan.
PITT 89, NO. 12 UNC 76: Sheldon Jeter scored a career-high 22 for the host Panthers, who shot 65 percent (37-of-67) and never trailed while dominating the Tar Heels (18-7, 8-4 ACC).
Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene
Subscribe to our free Sports Today newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
NO. 14 IOWA ST. 79, NO. 21 W.VA. 59: Monte Morris scored 19 for the host Cyclones (18-6, 8-4 Big 12), who swept the season series with the Mountaineers (19-6, 7-5).
NO. 15 WICHITA ST. 68, ILLINOIS ST. 62: Ron Baker scored 19 for the visiting Shockers (23-3, 13-1 MVC), who overcame 36.7 percent shooting from the field with fierce defense.
KANSAS ST. 59, NO. 17 OKLA. 56: Marcus Foster made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds left in his return from a three-game suspension to lead the host Wildcats over the Sooners (17-8, 8-5 Big 12).
NO. 19 MARYLAND 76, PENN ST. 73: Dez Wells scored 22, Melo Trimble added 20 and the visiting Terrapins (21-5, 9-4 Big Ten) pulled away with a strong second half.
NO. 20 VCU 79, GW 66: Melvin Johnson scored 17 and hit five 3-pointers as the visiting Rams (19-6, 9-3 Atlantic 10) snapped a two-game skid.
TCU 70, NO. 21 OKLA. ST. 55: Amric Fields had 12 points and played a big part in an upset-sealing 10-0 run by the host Horned Frogs over the Cowboys (17-8, 7-6 Big 12).
MICH. ST. 59, NO. 23 OHIO ST. 56: On Valentine's Day, Denzel Valentine hit a winning 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds left to lift the host Spartans after the Buckeyes (19-7, 8-5 Big Ten) had rallied from nine down at halftime.
FAMU 57, N.C. A&T 50: Jermaine Ruttley had 24 points and nine rebounds for the host Rattlers (1-23, 1-10 MEAC), who went in as into the only winless team in Division I.
NO. 2 UCONN 87, TULANE 39: Moriah Jefferson scored 16 to lead six players in double figures for the host Huskies (24-1, 13-0 AAC), who are poised to take over the No. 1 ranking Monday.
NO. 16 PRINCETON 56, YALE 50: Alex Wheatley scored 18 and Annie Tarakchian added 14 points and 11 rebounds as the visiting Tigers (23-0, 7-0 Ivy) remained the only undefeated Division I women's basketball team.
NO. 18 RUTGERS 78, PURDUE 49: Kahleah Copper had 24 points for the host Scarlet Knights (19-6, 10-4 Big Ten), who pulled away with a 22-5 second-half run.
NO. 21 CHATTANOOGA 76, UNC GREENSBORO 52: Chelsey Shumpert scored 15 and hit two 3-pointers for the host Mocs (22-3, 10-0 Southern), who shot 51.8 percent from the floor and never trailed.