Lowe, who starred on State’s 1983 NCAA champs, invited Thompson into the locker room after the game for a few words.
“The other night, I talked to the guys about the tradition of our school,” Lowe said. “After the [Clemson] loss, I told them, ‘You’re not just playing for yourselves. You’re playing for all the guys who came before you, the guys who set the stage for us.’
“I wanted them to see that the person I think was the best college basketball player to ever play the game came from N.C. State. I wanted them to know he’s supporting us, he’s here to see us. This is who we’re playing for.”
State sophomore Ben McCauley called meeting Thompson “mind-blowing” and meaningful.
“He said, ‘I love watching you guys play,’ ” McCauley said. “He said, ‘If you just keep working hard, it will pay off this season.’
“Coach Lowe said, ‘These are the people you’re playing for — the players who wore the red and white proudly.’ That means a lot to us. We’re playing for N.C. State, for the players, for our fans. And this could be the big momentum booster we needed, the start of a new season, really.”