Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - BeeJay Anya's buzzer-beating hook shot capped a remarkable North Carolina State rally that catapulted the Wolfpack to a startling 66-65 win over LSU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The eighth-seeded Wolfpack trailed by 16 points early in the second half and were down 62-48 with 9:15 remaining, but closed the game on an 18-3 run capped by Anya's turnaround jumper that fell in with 0.1 seconds on the clock.
"Our guys just kept fighting," said Wolfpack head coach Mark Gottfried. "They battled all the way to the end. They never gave up, they never got down. They kept competing and we ended up with a great play at the end there. BeeJay just made an unbelievable shot."
The improbable victory sent N.C. State (21-13) into a matchup with East Region top seed Villanova in Saturday's Round of 32.
Ninth-seeded LSU (22-11), meanwhile, is going home after failing to make a basket over the final 10:26 and missing five free throws in the last three minutes.
"We did a great job of moving the ball around from side to side, but we just couldn't get the ball to fall in," Tigers forward Jarell Martin said.
Anthony Barber aided the Wolfpack's comeback by scoring 17 points, with Abdul- Malik Abu adding 13 on 5-of-7 shooting.
Tim Quarterman flirted with a triple-double in the loss, finishing with 17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Martin and Jordan Mickey each posted double-doubles, but Mickey bricked four very costly free throws down the stretch that helped seal the Tigers' fate.
Martin recorded 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Mickey ended with 12 points and 14 boards.
Mickey's last two misses from the line came with the Tigers desperately clinging to a 65-62 lead with 1:03 left to play. LSU transfer Ralston Turner then misfired on a corner 3-point try out of a timeout, but Anya was there to tip in the rebound and trim the margin to one.
The Tigers got the ball to Mickey on the block on the ensuing possession, but the talented sophomore couldn't convert from in close and Trevor Lacey pulled down the carom for N.C. State. Following another timeout, Anya received a pass in the post and got a short left-handed runner to fall just before time expired.
"We were going to play for Trevor to score," said Anya. "Tim Quarterman and Keith (Hornsby) did a great job guarding Trevor. And so he passed me the ball and I was like, 'know what, it's time for me to shoot the ball'. Trevor called for it back. He had a chance. It was my turn to shoot it."
LSU missed its final 12 shots and went 7-of-24 from the field in the second half, with an 8-of-17 performance from the foul line after the break aiding to the Tigers' demise.
"They gave a lot of positives in a lot of other areas. Unfortunately, (we) didn't execute at the line, missed ten free throws tonight," LSU head coach Johnny Jones said of his team. "At the end of the day, it could have been a difference-maker in the game."
Prior to their cold spell, the Tigers seemed well on their way to advancing in their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2009. But a 3-pointer from Lacey, Kyle Washington's tip-in and a trey from Washington fueled a 10-0 N.C. State run that gave the Wolfpack new life and had them down just 62-58 with under six minutes to go.
LSU continued to come up empty on the offensive end, and the lead was down to 65-62 after Lacey stuck a tough step-back jumper on the baseline with 2:36 left.
The Tigers had little trouble putting up points in the first half, dominating N.C. State inside while building a 40-26 advantage at intermission. LSU outscored the Wolfpack 28-8 in the paint for the period, with Martin and Mickey accounting for much of the damage. The duo combined for 19 points and 13 rebounds over the initial 20 minutes.
LSU seized control with a 12-0 run that turned a one-point deficit into a 31-20 lead with 4:45 remaining in the opening stanza. Mickey netted the first four points of the surge, during which the Tigers held N.C. State scoreless for nearly 4 1/2 minutes and forced three of the Wolfpack's 10 turnovers for the period.
Turner averaged 10.6 points and made 99 3-pointers over 60 games in two seasons at LSU from 2010-12. The senior guard had 10 points against his former school, but went 4-of-14 from the floor and 2-of-10 from 3-point range ... LSU bested Butler, also in an 8-9 game, in their last NCAA trip in 2009 ... The Wolfpack had lost in the Round of 64 in each of the previous two years, falling to Temple in 2013 and Saint Louis most recently ... Jones served as an assistant under Gottfried at Alabama in 2000-01 ... Gottfried is one of just three ACC coaches, along with Roy Williams and Skip Prosser, to take his school to the NCAA Tournament in each of his first four seasons.