No. 11 N.C. State advances to Sweet 16 with overtime victory, continuing improbable March run

No. 11 N.C. State advances to Sweet 16 with overtime victory, continuing improbable March run

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“Survive and advance” is alive and well for N.C. State, 41 years after it won a national title.

The Wolfpack miraculously won the ACC after winning five games in as many days in the tournament.

They were the 10th seed in their conference, so anything less than a conference tournament title would have meant they would have been left out of March Madness.

But the miracle continues, and they are off to the Sweet 16.

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Casey Morsell (14) and DJ Burns Jr. (30) of the North Carolina State Wolfpack react during overtime of a game against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at PPG Paints Arena March 23, 2024, in Pittsburgh. (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

The 11th-seeded Wolfpack (24-14) took down No. 14 Oakland, 79-73, in an overtime classic Saturday.

Down one with less than a minute left, N.C. State’s Michael O’Connell converted a 3-point play, giving the Wolfpack a 66-64 lead. Jack Gohlke, who had already hit six 3-pointers, was fouled with 41.5 seconds left, giving him a one-and-one. He converted both. 

With the game tied at 66 and around 17 seconds left, N.C. State’s DJ Burns Jr. missed from inside the paint, giving Oakland the ball with the shot clock off. But Chris Conway turned the ball over with 1.7 seconds left. 

Now, it was the Wolfpack who had the last shot, but a halfcourt prayer just missed, sending the game into overtime.

No one gained more than a one-point lead in overtime until a mid-range jumper by N.C. State’s DJ Horne put them up three with 1:33 to go. After Oakland’s Blake Lampman went 1-for-2 at the line, Jayden Taylor drilled a corner three to put the Wolfpack up by five with 1:20 to go.

They eventually increased the lead to nine with an 11-1 run, and the Grizzlies’ final prayer wasn’t answered.

Michael O'Connell

Michael O’Connell of the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the second half of a game against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at PPG Paints Arena March 23, 2024, in Pittsburgh. (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

NO. 1 UNC PULLS AWAY LATE FROM NINTH-SEEDED MICHIGAN STATE TO MAKE SWEET 16

N.C. State led by as many as nine in the first half, but Oakland was well within striking distance the whole time. Oakland eventually tied the game with about 12½ minutes left and didn’t take its first lead until there was 2:49 left in regulation, but it wasn’t enough.

Gohlke, who hit 10 three-pointers in round one, scored 22 off the bench while going 6-for-17 from deep. Trey Townsend led all scorers with 30.

All five of N.C. State’s starters scored in double-digits, with Burns putting up 24 and grabbing 11 rebounds. Mohamed Diarra added 11 points and 13 boards.

The Wolfpack are 7-0 in the last 12 days.

NC State bench

Michael O’Connell (12) and Ben Middlebrooks (34) react to a 3-point shot by Casey Morsell (14) of the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the second half of a game against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at PPG Paints Arena March 23, 2024, in Pittsburgh.  (Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

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N.C. State faces the winner of No. 2 Marquette and No. 10 Colorado in the South region.

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