SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Montrezl Harrell is not ready for the end of his college career at Louisville just yet. Anton Gill helped make sure it continues at least one more game.
Harrell scored 24 points, Gill keyed a late-game surge with seven points off the bench, and Louisville beat North Carolina State, 75-65, Friday night in the East Regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament.
"We don't want to go home," said Harrell, a junior who plans to enter the NBA draft. "We took our bumps and bruises throughout the season, but we came together at the right time. Everything just jelled at the right time."
Louisville (27-8), the fourth seed in the East, is trying to make its third Final Four in four years. The Cardinals will play seventh-seeded Michigan State (26-11) in the East final Sunday. The Spartans battled to a 62-58 win over the third-seeded Sooners (24-11) in Friday's nightcap in the Carrier Dome.
After toppling top-seeded Villanova, North Carolina State (22-14), the eighth seed, saw its postseason run end against a team that refused to quit.
Louisville wasn't given much chance of playing in late March after it lost two of three entering the NCAA tournament, but gritty wins over California Irvine and Northern Iowa had the Cardinals brimming with confidence.
Terry Rozier had 17 points and 14 rebounds, and freshman guard Quentin Snider added 14 points for the Cardinals.
Louisville coach Rick Pitino has a 12-1 record in Sweet 16 games, 6-1 with the Cardinals.
Trevor Lacey led the Wolfpack with 18 points, while Ralston Turner added 12 and Kyle Washington 11.
Anthony "Cat" Barber, the spark of the Wolfpack's attack, finished with eight points on 3-of-14 shooting, only briefly getting untracked early in the second half.
Before the game, Pitino promised a surprise, and Gill delivered. Gill, who averaged 9.5 minutes and 2.4 points during the season, hit a runner and a three-pointer from the right corner in a minute as Louisville regained the lead late in a seesaw game. He followed with a baseline drive for a 62-57 lead with 3 minutes, 33 seconds remaining.
Lacey missed, and Rozier stormed back on a fastbreak, his off-balance shot caroming in off the back of the iron as Turner committed a foul. Rozier calmly made the free throw to complete a three-point play for a 65-57 lead with 3:05 left.
Harrell's driving layup with 1:41 to go boosted the lead to 67-57, and that effectively put an end to the Wolfpack's postseason run.
The teams met during the regular Atlantic Coast Conference season, with the Wolfpack winning, 74-65, on the road on Valentine's Day behind Barber's 21 points.
The Cardinals are not the same team. Standout guard Chris Jones, an offensive catalyst and master of the steal, was dismissed from the team for off-the-court problems. Snider stepped in and has gained confidence, scoring 26 points and snaring nine rebounds in Louisville's first two tournament wins.
The changes have been noticeable. With seven freshmen, the pressure Pitino's teams thrive on has picked up. In Louisville's 66-53 win over Northern Iowa on Sunday night, the Cardinals held the Panthers to 39 percent shooting; forced 10 turnovers; and outrebounded them, 30-25.
In this one, the Wolfpack's bigs faltered repeatedly inside as Louisville outscored N.C. State, 40-24, in the paint and finished 27 of 54 from the field. State's BeeJay Anya, Abdul-Malik Abut, and Lennard Freeman combined to shoot 4 of 14 and registered just three blocked shots, one fewer than the Cardinals.
Before the start of the second half, North Carolina State coach Mark Gottfried pulled Barber aside at the bench, put his arm around his neck, and gave him a pep talk before tapping him on the rear end. Held scoreless in the first half, Barber responded by draining two three-pointers to boost the Wolfpack's lead to 39-31.