Wolfpack Dominates Comeback List

I’ve got tons of old entries that I began during the past 9 months but never posted. As we work our way up to the start of football season, I will work to just “dump” them onto the site for future use.

We will start with this article from the Las Vegas Sun that took a stab at ranking the most dramatic comebacks in college basketball history (in light of UNLV’s recent 93-91 overtime victory over San Diego State.) With input from a few insiders and experts, the Sun gauged and ranked the all-time shockers that had a distinctive ACC, and NC State taste.

Of course, Herb Sendek’s lone entry on list represents State’s only loss on the list. Unfortunately, when you have 20-31 record and 40% winning percentage in close games, the odds are decidedly against logging a good one.

(10) Pacific 64, Utah State 63 (Feb. 12, 2005)
(9) Vanderbilt 75, North Carolina State 73 (March 21, 2004)
(8) North Carolina 96, Duke 92 (OT) (March 2, 1974)
(7) UNLV 93, San Diego State 91 (OT)
(6) Duke 98, Maryland 96 (OT) (Jan. 27, 2001)
(5) North Carolina State 69, Pepperdine 67 (2OT) (March 18, 1983)
(4) New Mexico State 117, Bradley 109 (Jan. 27, 1977)
(3) New York University 70, Ohio State 65 (OT) (March 24, 1945)
(2) Kentucky 99, Louisiana State 95 (Feb. 15, 1994)
(1) North Carolina State 80, UCLA 77 (2OT) (March 23, 1974).

9. Vanderbilt 75, North Carolina State 73
March 21, 2004
In the second round of last season’s NCAA tournament, the Commodores trailed the Wolfpack by 10 with 2 minutes, 44 seconds left in Orlando. Vandy got a boost when Pack star Julius Hodge fouled out by brushing against Matt Freije as Freije attempted a 3-point shot. Freije hit all three of his subsequent free throws, then sank a 3-pointer and the comeback was on.

5. North Carolina State 69, Pepperdine 67 (2OT)
March 18, 1983
Everything wasn’t “Fine at the ‘Dine,” as then-coach Jim Harrick of Pepperdine was always fond of saying, in this NCAA tournament first rounder in Corvallis, Ore. The Wolfpack trailed by six with 24 seconds left in overtime and the Waves were at the free throw line when Harrick’s dreams were crushed. Then State beat UNLV, and four victories later the late Jim Valvano had a national title.

“Pepperdine had 89-percent free-throw shooters missing foul shots, missing one-and-ones,” Whicker said.

In ensuing years, Harrick said he reminded Valvano every chance he got that Pepperdine was responsible for turning Valvano into a legend.

1. North Carolina State 80, UCLA 77 (2OT)
March 23, 1974
The national semifinal game in Greensboro, N.C., stalled one of sports’ most impressive achievements.

Legendary Bruins coach John Wooden’s streak of seven national championships in a row was snapped by a Wolfpack squad that went on to defeat Marquette for the title.

UCLA, with Bill Walton and Keith Wilkes, had built an 11-point lead early in the second half. The Pack fought back to force overtime, and in the second extra session Walton and Wilkes combined to score seven consecutive points.

But David Thompson (28 points, 10 rebounds) and Tom Burleson (20 and 14) powered State, which scored the game’s final 11 points.

“It was incredible because of who (North Carolina State) was playing, the circumstance of the game and what was on the line,” Burlison said. “That stretch of seven national titles will probably be the greatest string in the history of college sports.”