RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Justin Gordon’s last-second shot counted for Wofford. Trevor Lacey’s didn’t for North Carolina State.
Gordon hit a contested layup with 1.9 seconds left while Lacey’s running 3-pointer was waved off as coming after the buzzer, capping the frantic final seconds in the Terriers’ 55-54 upset of the Wolfpack on Sunday.
Karl Cochran scored 14 points to lead Wofford (8-2), which shot just 36 percent but hung right with the Wolfpack (8-2) all afternoon before rallying from six down in the final 3 1/2 minutes for the win.
”They fully expect when we get on that bus and get to places like this to do the … things we have to do and find a way to win,” Wofford coach Mike Young said of his players. ”In a tremendous environment, in a storied arena such as this, (the win) is very, very special.”
Wofford returned nearly its entire team from last year’s Southern Conference tournament champions, and is the preseason favorite to win the league again.
The Terriers showed why against the Wolfpack, tussling on the glass, capitalizing on turnovers and never letting N.C. State put together a clinching run.
”We did everything we needed to defensively and rebounding-wise to get this game and we won it,” Gordon said. ”We deserved that.”
Lacey nearly topped Gordon’s layup, taking a long inbounds pass and hitting a running 3 at the horn that had N.C. State players spilling onto the court to celebrate in Reynolds Coliseum – the program’s longtime former campus home.
But officials reviewed the replay and determined the shot came too late, sending the Terriers into a celebration of a rare win against an Atlantic Coast Conference team.
”A tenth of a second short,” Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said.
Lacey finished with 18 points after missing Friday’s win against Charleston Southern with an ankle injury, including a jumper over Cochran for a 54-53 lead with 35.1 seconds left.
”We’ve seen the tape,” Lacey said of his last shot. ”I’ve got to do better and get it off (in time).”
N.C. State was in position to close this one out after Lacey’s jumper pushed the lead to 52-46 with 3:27 left. But Cochran answered with a 3-pointer out of a timeout, then found Lee Skinner for a layup with 1:31 left that cut the deficit to 52-51.
Then, Eric Garcia hit a straightaway jumper with 51.1 seconds left to give Wofford the 53-52 lead.
Wofford: Wofford fought to a 33-all tie on the boards. … Wofford had a 13-0 edge in points off turnovers and a 9-0 edge in second-chance points. … Wofford improved to 4-33 since the 1995-96 season against current ACC teams.
N.C. State: Ralston Turner had 11 points. … N.C. State committed 11 turnovers and scored just 21 second-half points.
The game also marked the first time that referee Karl Hess has worked an N.C. State game in nearly three years. In his last appearance, Hess ejected former Wolfpack stars Tom Gugliotta and Chris Corchiani from their seats behind the scorer’s table during a February 2012 game.
He heard plenty of boos each time he blew the whistle, including when he called a technical foul on Gottfried barely 4 minutes in to further irk the home crowd. Some fans threw trash at him as he left the court after Lacey’s basket was waved off.
Days after Gottfried said his frontcourt players need to step up offensively, that group offered little scoring in this one. BeeJay Anya, Lennard Freeman and Kyle Washington combined for 11 points on 4-for-12 shooting.
Wofford hosts Charleston Southern on Wednesday.
N.C. State hosts Tennessee Wednesday.
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap