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

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“Survive and advance” is alive and well for NC State, 41 years after winning 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 out of March Madness.

But the miracle continues and they are heading to the Sweet 16.

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Casey Morsell and DJ Burns

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 on March 23, 2024, in Pittsburgh. (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

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

Trailing with less than a minute to play, NC State's Michael O'Connell converted a 3-point play, giving the Wolfpack a 66-64 lead. Jack Gohlke, who had already made 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 about 17 seconds remaining, NC State's DJ Burns Jr. missed inside the paint, giving Oakland the ball with the shot clock off. But Chris Conway turned the ball over with 1.7 seconds remaining.

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

Nobody took more than a one-point lead in overtime until a mid-range jumper from NC State's DJ Horne gave them a three-point lead with 1:33 to play. After Oakland's Blake Lampman went 1-for-2 at the line, Jayden Taylor drilled a corner three to give the Wolfpack a five-up lead with 1:20 to play.

They eventually increased the lead to nine with a score of 11-1, and the Grizzlies' final prayer was not 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 on March 23, 2024, in Pittsburgh. (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

NO. 1 UNC LEAVES AWAY FROM NINTH SEED MICHIGAN STATE TO MAKE SWEET 16

NC State led by nine in the first half, but Oakland was within striking distance the entire time. Oakland finally tied it with about 12½ minutes left and didn't take its first lead until 2:49 remained in regulation, but it wasn't enough.

Gohlke, who made 10 three-pointers in the first round, made 22 off the bench while going 6 of 17 from deep. Trey Townsend led all scorers with 30.

All five NC State starters scored in double figures, with Burns scoring 24 and grabbing 11 rebounds. Mohamed Diarra added 11 points and 13 rebounds.

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 North Carolina State Golden Grizzlies Oakland in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at PPG Paints Arena on March 23, 2024, in Pittsburgh. (Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

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NC State faces the winner of No. 2 Marquette and No. 10 Colorado in the South Region.

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