Cardiac Pack indeed. No. 6 seed NC State used solid defense and a late-game pass and layup from Scott Wood to Richard Howell to defeat No. 3 seed South Florida in Orlando. The “upset” win sets up a second round trip to No. 2 seed UAB, a team many believed to be on the NCAA Tournament bubble heading into the final weeks of the season. If NC State can secure another victory and UNC upsets Mississippi State in the second round, the Wolfpack and Tar Heels would meet for the third time this season.
Dennis Horner scored 25 points and Richard Howell’s go-ahead layup with eight seconds left barely beat the shot clock as NC State defeated South Florida 58-57 in the first round of the NIT on Tuesday night.
The officials reviewed Howell’s basket to see if it beat the shot clock and the call stood.
USF star Dominiques Jones had a look for a last shot, but passed it to Chris Howard, who then passed it to Augustus Gilchrist, who put up an airball.
The Wolfpack (20-15) trailed for the first 25 minutes of the game as Horner had 14 of NC State’s 22 points in the first.
Scott Wood couldn’t believe his eyes.
The freshman had been held without a point, and with 11 seconds left in the game, six on the shot clock and N.C. State trailing South Florida 57-56, the inbounds pass had sailed over his head into the backcourt.
As Wood tracked down the ball and moved upcourt, he started to heave a halfcourt shot when he noticed something.
“I was going up to shoot it, and I looked at the clock real quick, and I was like, ‘The clock hasn’t started yet,’ ” said Wood, who fired a pass under the basket to Richard Howell, wide open for a go-ahead layup.