All-Time Most Devastating Losses: 25-21

Grant Halverson

25. January 3, 2010: Florida 62, NC State 61 (OT).

Chandler Parsons. Ahahahahaha. Of course we had to put this one on the list, even if it was an ultimately meaningless non-conference game in the Sid Lowe era (which, again, never happened). Still, losing an overtime game by 1 point on a 75-footer which touches nothing but net is arguably the worst way to lose on the list. Relive the shock!


24a and b. January 15, 1997: UNC 59, NC State 56 and February 12, 1997: UNC 45, NC State 44

Common across many of the basketball losses on this list is the tale of an underdog Wolfpack squad taking UNC or Duke to the brink, only for victory to slip away at the last instant. No NC State team was a bigger underdog than Herb’s first. The team lacked ACC-caliber talent at almost every position. It had only 1 semi-competent big man (a freshman Damon Thornton, who ended up getting hurt).

And yet, twice this team came inches away from beating UNC (featuring two guys still playing in the NBA – Vince Carter and Antawn Jamison). I’m cheating a bit here by listing both games against UNC. I had forgotten the "Steve Norton" game until acc_10k described it so aptly in the comments here:

Scroll down to the first acc_10k comment.

In the rematch in Raleigh, the Pack had the ball and a 1 point lead with seconds left, when Osh Benjamin dribbled the ball off his leg out of bounds under duress. Ed Cota hits the game winner for UNC. Danny Strong has what looks like an open 3 for the win at the death, only for Vince Carter to send the shot flying out of bounds. See it here:


Showing admirable resilience, after the Ed Cota loss this severely undermanned squad managed to win at #2 Wake (boasting Tim Duncan at C and Loren Woods at PF – seriously, how the **** did State win at Wake with a Tim Duncan v. freshman Damon Thornton matchup in the paint? That must be one of our all-time most improbable victories) and beat ACC regular-season champ Duke in the ACC tournament…before losing in the ACC tournament final to….UNC, of course.

23. February 26, 2014: UNC 85, NC State 84 (OT)

Let's just move on.

22. June 18, 2013: UCLA 2, NC State 1

This list focuses on football and men’s basketball. But the UCLA game of last spring deserves mention, because it is the closest any NC State team has come to winning a national title in 30 years. The Pack 9 were unable to hold a 1-0 lead. In the 8th inning, Trea Turner blasted a deep ball to left that would have cleared the fence by 40 feet in most parks, but not in Omaha. Instead of a 3 run homer, the loud out doomed State to a 2-1 loss to the eventual national champs.

Had State won that game, they would have advanced in the winner’s bracket and faced either UNC or UCLA with Carlos Rodon on an extra day’s rest, and would have only needed 1 win in 2 games against either UCLA/UNC to advance to the best-of-3 final. You have to like State’s chances there. Alas.

21. October 27, 2012: UNC 43, NC State 35

Probably should be higher on the list. By this point I had given up on TOB and thus this loss hurt less than it should have.

Everyone remembers the punt return TD to end the game, but don't forgot how State's receivers dropped 8-10 passes throughout and how we blew a 10 point 4th quarter lead.


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