COLUMBUS, Ohio — It’s been a long time since North Carolina State was mentioned in the same breath with the elite programs in the nation – let alone its own state.
Now, a new coach and a new attitude have the Wolfpack faithful harkening back to the glory days of David Thompson and Jim Valvano.
Lorenzo Brown hit three free throws in the final 10.6 seconds and North Carolina State returned to the round of 16 with a 66-63 upset of third-seeded Georgetown in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.
“When I went to Alabama as the head coach at the age of 33, John Wooden told me one time, he said, ‘Coach, don’t give them too much too fast. They might start expecting that every year,’ ” first-year Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said with a grin.
Then, with impeccable timing, he added: “Well, we failed in that category already.”
The Wolfpack (24-12) will play Purdue or Kansas on Friday in St. Louis.
Picked to finish 10th in the Big East, the Hoyas (24-9) put together another solid year. But it still ended with another surprising loss.
It was quite the wild finish, too.
The Hoyas, riding the shooting of Hollis Thompson (23 points), closed to 63-61 before freshman Otto Porter missed a 15-foot jumper under pressure with 14 seconds left.
“(Otto) was open,” coach John Thompson III said. “He ended up getting a decent shot. The ball just didn’t go in.”
Lorenzo Brown, a 74-percent shooter at the line, made two foul shots with 10.6 seconds left for a 65-61 Wolfpack lead. Clark, who finished with 10 points, then went the length of the court for a layup before Brown was fouled again with 4.6 seconds left. He hit the first but missed the second, and the Hoyas raced down court for a potential tying 3.
They got a great look, with Clark stopping and getting off a rushed shot, which missed.
NORTH CAROLINA 87, CREIGHTON 73
In Greensboro, N.C., ohn Henson proved he’s healthy enough to help North Carolina’s latest push for the Final Four. It remains to be seen if Kendall Marshall will be able to help the Tar Heels.
Henson had 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in his return from a wrist injury, but Marshall broke a bone in his right wrist during the second half of North Carolina’s third-round victory over Creighton.
Coach Roy Williams cleared reporters out of the locker room to inform the team of Marshall’s injury. His status for North Carolina’s game against Ohio on Friday in the round of 16 in St. Louis is unclear.
“All we know right now is it’s a fracture,” Marshall said. “Luckily it’s my right hand. If it was my left hand, then we’d probably have some problems. But we’ll take it day by day and figure it out.”
The point guard, widely considered the Tar Heels most valuable player, still finished with 18 points and 11 assists.
The Tar Heels (31-5) reached the round of 16 for a record 25th time.
Doug McDermott scored 20 points for the Bluejays (29-6), who shot 41 percent and couldn’t keep up with the hot-shooting Tar Heels.
OHIO 62, SOUTH FLORIDA 56
In Nashville, Tenn., Walter Offutt scored 21 points, D.J. Cooper had 19 and Ohio beat South Florida to advance to the regional semifinals.
The Bobcats (29-7) will play No. 1 seed North Carolina in their second trip to the round of 16.
Ohio trailed by two when Offutt swished a 3-pointer, launching a 10-0 run for the Bobcats. A pair of free throws by Cooper made it 54-46 with 3:28 left.
The Bobcats had a 59-53 lead when Toarlyn Fitzpatrick connected for South Florida’s first 3-pointer of the half. But Cooper went 3 for 4 from the line while the Bulls missed three shots in the final 36 seconds.
Victor Rudd Jr. and Anthony Collins both scored 13 points for the Bulls (22-14).