RALEIGH — Gabe DeVoe missed a potential game-tying free throw with 0.2 seconds remaining, allowing NC State to escape with a 78-77 win over Clemson at PNC Arena on Thursday night.
The Wolfpack saw a 12-point lead disintegrate in the final 1:34 of the game, courtesy of Clemson’s hot shooting and several NC State miscues.
In the final 94 seconds, State missed a pair of free throws, turned the ball over on a pair of inbound passes and twice fouled a Clemson 3-point shooter.
“I didn’t want to focus on our last couple minutes and take away from a great win,” head coach Kevin Keatts said. “What I did tell the guys was, ‘Get used to winning.’”
Sam Hunt fouled DeVoe’s 3-point shot in the game’s final second, with NC State clinging to a three-point lead. DeVoe hit the first two free throws, and Keatts called a timeout before the third.
“I was just praying. I’m not going to lie,” said State’s Omer Yurtseven. “I was praying to God, ‘Please, please, please make him miss. I don’t want to go to overtime.’”
Yurtseven led NC State with a game-high 29 points on 12-of-18 shooting, including a breakaway dunk with 25 seconds remaining that was State’s only field goal in the final 1:34. He added four rebounds and four blocked shots.
After the timeout, Yurtseven’s prayer was answered. DeVoe’s final free throw bounced off the rim to the left, and Torin Dorn grabbed it and ran out the clock.
“DeVoe’s a great player, and he missed a free throw,” said Keatts. “I’m excited that he did, but it certainly won’t define what kind of player he is.”
The Pack built their 12-point lead on defense, harassing the Tigers into 17 turnovers on 11 steals. The defensive showing allowed NC State to overcome poor shooting — the Wolfpack shot just 41.8 percent on the night and were outrebounded 43 to 32.
”We didn’t show enough poise,” said Clemson coach Brad Brownell.
The No. 19 Tigers suffered just their second loss of the season and first in ACC play. It was State’s second straight win over a ranked opponent — the Pack upset then No. 2 Duke at home on Saturday. It was also the first time in a decade that NC State has followed up a win over Duke with a win in its next game.