Inside The Playbook: Matt Cross, Chris Mack use an old Brad Stevens set to prevail over NC State

In just his second game back from suspension, Louisville head coach Chris Mack dialed up a brilliant after-timeout play in Saturday’s win at NC State, which proved be to be the game-winner. With two seconds left on the shot clock (30.3 seconds left in the game), Mack draw inspiration from former Butler and Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens.

Gibson Pyper — of the brilliant @HalfCourtHoops handle on Twitter — had coined this play: “Winner.” It’s an end-of-game/half play on a sidelines out-of-bounds set. There’s a baseline screen/exchange for an off-ball player flowing to the weak-side of the floor (Draymond Green); the inbounds passer will throw the ball over the top to that player. While this happens, another player (Steph Curry) comes off a screen in the direction of the player who just received the initial pass.

Stevens is credited with the genesis of this play; however, dozens of NBA and college teams have dipped into the portfolio to use this set, too.

Here’s Louisville in action vs. NC State.

Dre Davis, who was awesome again today, is tasked with a challenging pass to start the possession. Jarrod West sets the baseline cross screen for Matt Cross. Jericole Hellems, the primary defender on Cross, and Terquavion Smith, a freshman guard, switch the action, on the fly. Smith, however, tries to turn and find the ball in the air; in doing so, he leaves his feet, which helps give Cross a little more room.

Noah Locke, another talented movement shooter comes off the screen from Malik Williams. Instead of passing to Locke — there really isn’t enough time — Cross decides to put his lightning-quick release to work. Cross drains the 3, and Louisville held on to win, 73-68.

This is one of the big differences with Louisville’s roster, compared to last season. Cross and Locke can do damage as off-ball movers and 3-point shooters.

Here’s another example of “Winner.”


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