For most of Thursday night, LSU looked like it’d be cruising to the Round of 32. Instead, N.C. State stole a win at the very last second for yet another dose of drama on the first night of March Madness.
Wolfpack forward Beejay Anya rolled in a layup with 0.1 seconds remaining to lift his team to a 66-65 win over LSU. N.C. State rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit.
For much of the first half, neither team looked in control. They traded blows until N.C. State’s Abdul-Malik Abu sunk a jumper to give his team a 20-19 lead with 8:42 until halftime. The Wolfpack wouldn’t score again until the 4:19 mark.
LSU took advantage during that span, scoring 12 straight points and capping an overall 16-2 run that culminated with a Josh Gray layup. At halftime the Tigers held a 31-20 lead, with their dynamic duo of forwards Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey doing most of the damage down low.
LSU’s lead increased in the second half, but it managed to lose any semblance of offense in the final few minutes. After Martin hit a jumper with 10:25 to play, the Tigers would not make another field goal and score a total of five points the rest of the way.
That’s when N.C. State staged its own rally. Trevor Lacey nailed a fadeaway jumper with 2:33 remaining to cut the Tigers’ lead to 65-62. While LSU struggled shooting from the field, it wasn’t much better from the line. The Tigers missed their final six free throws.
Beejay Anya, who hadn’t scored all night, pushed N.C. State within one on a tip shot with 44 ticks left. Then on the Wolfpack’s final possession, Anya rolled in the final layup to give his team the final lead. They closed the game on an 18-5 run to seal the victory.
Thanks to LSU’s epic collapse, 8-seeded N.C. State will face No. 1 Villanova next in the Round of 32.