CHARLOTTE – NCAA NCAA hopefuls looked grim, facing a 18-point deficit in the second period after a sluggish start to Clemson in Game 8-9 of the ACC tournament.
But Markell Johnson would not let his team go quietly.
NC State caught up 18 points in 7: 37 at the start of the first half and was still 14 behind with just over 15 minutes to go.
Johnson scored the last 8 points of NC State in the final game at 5:38, including two free throws under pressure with his team down one point with 2.6 seconds to go. He finished with a record of 23 points.
Clemson spent more than 11 minutes without a placement, and this drought allowed NC State to return, slowly but surely.
NC State shot 41.1% for the game, but 48% in the second half and 5 of 11 against 3 in the second half after scoring 1 of 10 in the first half. Clemson shot 35.5% for the game after only 6 shots of 31 (19.4%) in the second half.
NC State will play Virginia, the No. 1 seed, in the match for the first quarter-final on Thursday at 12pm.