Trevor Lacey scored 21 points to help North Carolina State hold off South Florida 68-65 on Sunday.
Anthony "Cat" Barber added 10 points for the Wolfpack, who blew most of an 11-point lead in the final 3 minutes but did just enough to earn the program's first 4-0 start under coach Mark Gottfried.
N.C. State appeared to have the game in hand after Des Lee's two free throws made it 65-54 with 2:57 left. But the Bulls clawed back in it, aided by some missed free throws from the Wolfpack, to pull within 67-65 on Corey Allen Jr.'s layup with 3.8 seconds left.
Lee hit 1 of 2 free throws with 2.6 seconds to go to push the margin back to three. The Bulls (3-1) had one more chance but Allen's heave for the tie from a step or two inside halfcourt clanged off the rim as the horn sounded.