Clemson trailed NC State by 12 with just 1:33 left after a lackluster performance, but with 0.2 seconds left the Tigers had a chance to tie the game.
After Gabe DeVoe made the first two of his three free-throw attempts, Wolfpack coach Kevin Keats called a timeout to try to ice Clemson’s senior guard. The strategy worked, and the Tigers fell 78-77 in heart-breaking fashion when DeVoe’s final attempt went begging.
The comeback effort was admirable, but it came after a largely uninspired effort in which the Tigers turned the ball over 17 times and forced just four NC State turnovers.
Clemson got down early after the aforementioned sloppy play, but 13 first-half points by Mark Donnal off the bench helped the Tigers keep the deficit to just three at the half.
But Clemson could never get in gear after the break, and the Wolfpack pulled away late before the nearly miraculous comeback took place.
The story of the game was NC State center Omer Yurtseven, who scored 29 points and was an incredible 5 for 6 from three-point range after attempting just eight the entire season entering the game. The Tigers didn’t have an answer for him inside or outside, and his performance was the difference.
Marcquise Reed and Donte Grantham scored 17 and 16, respectively, to pace Clemson, while DeVoe posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Tigers face a very quick turnaround, as No. 18 Miami comes to Littlejohn on Saturday.