Raleigh, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Jerian Grant scored a game-high 25 points and helped disrupt Trevor Lacey's potential game-winner as No. 8 Notre Dame rallied for a thrilling 81-78 overtime victory over NC State on Sunday.
The Fighting Irish stormed back from 18 down and forced overtime on V.J. Beachem's tip-in just before the regulation buzzer.
They trailed twice in OT before Beachem's driving layup gave them the lead for good at 78-76. After Demetrius Jackson's free throw made it a three-point game, NC State called a timeout with 11.2 seconds to go and put the ball in Lacey's hands.
Grant hounded Lacey at the top of the key and blocked his first 3-point attempt. Lacey had a enough time to gather the loose ball and tossed up another shot that found all rim.
Beachem, Jackson and Pat Connaughton all scored 11 points for the Irish (19-2, 7-1 ACC), who have won four in a row heading into their showdown against No. 5 Duke on Wednesday.
Lacey finished with 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds for NC State (13-8, 4-4), which has lost back-to-back games for the first time all season.
The Wolfpack had their way in the first half, hitting 62.1 percent of their shots and scoring nearly half of their points (20) in the paint. They got easy buckets off great ball movement, notably from Lacey, whose bounce pass led to a BeeJay Anya dunk and NC State's largest lead at 40-22.
Connaughton's tip-in at the buzzer cut Notre Dame's deficit to 42-30, and the second half was a different story entirely.
Whereas the Wolfpack regressed 39.3 percent shooting, the Irish connected on 7-of-14 from 3-point range after a 1-for-11 clip before halftime.
A Grant 3-pointer trimmed the deficit to 48-43 just over three minutes in, and Zach Auguste gave Notre Dame its first lead, 53-52, when he pulled down a defensive rebound, threw an outlet pass, beat his defender down the court, caught up with Jackson's long bounce pass and laid it in.
NC State retook the lead on a Lacey 3-pointer with under eight minutes to go and stayed there until the Irish scored five straight points in the final 1:12 of regulation.
Grant made a free throw, Jackson put in a tough layup and Beachem skyed for a tip-in with 1.8 seconds remaining amid of slew of bodies under the basket.
Notre Dame actually got the ball back when Abdul-Malik Abu was whistled for a push-off on the ensuing inbounds pass, and Grant got a good look at a halfcourt shot that caught the back of the rim.
Both teams had five players score in double digits, but only Auguste recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds ... Kyle Washington scored 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting for NC State, which only recorded five assists after halftime ... Notre Dame had a 43-34 rebounding advantage.