Gavin Grant had struggled with his shot all night, but when NC State absolutely had to have three points, he delivered.
Trailing UNC-Greensboro by three with 10.9 seconds left in the game, Ben McCauley spotted Grant open at the top of the key. Grant never hesitated, draining the game-tying shot to send it to overtime.
"I've been struggling lately, all my shots are going in and out," Grant said. "But I wasn't going to not shoot the ball in a position like that."
In overtime, the Pack pulled away and hit its free-throws late to give the Pack a 95-93 victory on Tuesday night at the RBC Center. McCauley jumped on the Spartans early in overtime, scoring the first six points to set the pace for State. He finished with another sparkling final line – 26 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, and no turnovers.
"Just another day at the office," McCauley said.
The Pack (10-4) was 12-for-16 from the line in overtime, overcoming a barrage of 3-pointers in the final two minutes from the Spartans (6-7). Grant was a perfect 8-for-8 from the line in the final five minutes, and recorded his second double-double of the season with 18 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. Courtney Fells and Brandon Costner each added 19 for the Pack.
"It was a great game to be involved in," coach Sidney Lowe said. "I thought both teams really dug deep and made plays when they had to."
With the win, the Wolfpack wraps up non-conference play for the season. State finished the non-conference season 10-3, and has one conference loss at Virginia from early December.
"It's another season, we are in the ACC now," Lowe said. "We're going to have to bring great effort on Saturday against Boston College. The main thing is that we continue to play our way."
The Pack might be getting a key piece of its team back just as the ACC season cranks up. Engin Atsur, who has missed the last nine games with a hamstring injury, is expected to practice later this week.
"Engin got a workout today, and he got one yesterday, and he felt good today," Lowe said. "He'll practice on Thursday, Friday and hopefully he'll be in uniform on Saturday."
For the second time in three games, the Pack had to overcome a double-digit deficit to win. State trailed by as many as 11 points in the second half, as Greensboro attacked with the stellar inside play of Kyle Hines and hot-shooting from behind the 3-point arc. The Spartans finished with a school record 16 3-pointers, and three different players scored more than 20 points. Hines, who averages a double-double, scored 27 points and had six rebounds before fouling out.
"He's a big strong guy but at the same time he's very quick," McCauley said. "He's an all-around great player. That was definitely our focus – to stop Hines."
The Pack rallied thanks to a key 16-2 run in the middle of the second half that turned an 11-point deficit into a three-point lead. State ran most of its offensive sets through McCauley, who either took it to the basket or found open cutters for easy lay-ups. The sophomore has now scored 15 or more points in eight straight games
The Spartans retook the lead late in the half, but Grant hit on back-to-back jumpers in the final minute of regulation. Grant was 2-for-10 from the field before hitting those final two shots.
"There were several plays there," Lowe said. "Obviously Gavin's 3 to tie the ball game, but Gavin also took a charge down on the other end."