Braxton Beverly entered NC State lore on Saturday when he buried an NBA three as time expired to steal a win over the Clemson Tigers. The entire final 30 seconds was improbable and his shot won’t soon be forgotten. It was also the seventh buzzer beating game winner the Pack has hit this decade. Let’s rank them.
7. NC State 73 - Boston College 72
March 2, 2016
Freshman wing Maverick Rowan saved the Pack from an embarrassing loss with a great cut to the ball, allowing him an easy layup as time expired. Boston College was hurtling towards an unprecedented accomplishment of going winless in both football and basketball in the same season. NC State was determined to help the Eagles avoid such a disaster, and State trailed by as many as 13 in the game.
The game meant virtually nothing to State, beyond just avoiding an embarrassing loss in a season that was already past its death date. It was a great play by Rowan, but the shot was just an easy layup, so this one ranks last.
6. NC State 76 - High Point 73
December 16, 2015
Perhaps the most memorable shot of Cat Barber’s career, the junior point guard beat an actually pretty good High Point team on a step-back three as the horn sounded. It was a microcosm of the entire season, with Barber finding a way to score amidst a dysfunctional disaster. Caleb Martin attempted to set a screen, but somehow collided with Barber as he was dribbling. Barber then maybe possibly committed an offensive foul before nailing a fadeaway three at the buzzer. It was a great shot and it saved the Pack from potentially a second mid-major defeat that it really couldn’t afford. This was vintage Cat Barber.
5. NC State 67 - St. Bonaventure 65
December 20, 2011
The difficulty of this play was incredibly high. C.J. Williams threw about as good of a pass as you could ever hope for in a situation like that, and a different C.J., this one of the Leslie variety, won State the game with a shot over the defender that bounced around the rim for added suspense as time expired.
4. NC State 58 - Clemson 57
February 10, 2013
Scott Wood is a favorite all-time Wolfpacker for more than his fair share of fans, and moments like this are why. The Pack’s 2011-2012 team, which had been loaded up with massive expectations before the season, was staring a 4-game losing streak and a sub-.500 conference record in the face. A thoroughly mediocre Clemson team was about to seal a win over State as it went to the line up two with just a handful of seconds left. Tigers forward Milton Jennings missed the front end of a one-and-one though, and then Scott Wood buried a three with one second left on a well-designed set play.
This one was awesome because it was a well-designed piece of offense at a critical juncture in the season, and that’s not exactly what Mark Gottfried was known for. This was perfectly designed and executed, and State stole a win it had to have at Clemson.
3. NC State 81 - Georgia Tech 80 (OT)
January 31, 2015
Cat Barber lit the world on fire in the first half, hitting five threes and helping the Pack to a 17-3 start. State couldn’t get a rebound the whole afternoon though, and Georgia Tech came all the way back and got the game to overtime. Down 80-78, the Pack had no choice but to put an 80+% free-throw shooter on the line. Somehow he missed them both, and then Trevor Lacey ran the whole floor and you know what happened after that.
Much like Scott Wood’s Clemson shot, this may have saved State’s season. The Pack finished strong enough to get off the bubble, but that may not have been so if Trevor Lacey didn’t nail that shot. This shot also snapped a three game losing streak
2. NC State 69 - Clemson 67
January 26, 2019
The Pack, appearing as though it was about to badly faceplant just before beginning the toughest stretch of games all season, survived via an 8-0 run in the final 26 seconds. A free throw shooter that was 9-10 in the game suddenly forgot how to do sports, missing four in a row while the Pack made three critical ones to cut it to one. Then Braxton Beverly waved goodbye to Clemson.
It remains to be seen if this will be a season turning point like the one above, but the ending was utterly improbable, and it was the craziest sequence of events I’ve ever seen live at the end of NC State basketball game. Beverly’s shot was not only from beyond NBA range, but it missed being blocked by what appears to be like a quarter of an inch. And the dang thing went in.
1. NC State 66 - LSU 65
March 19, 2015
Perhaps the only victory that seemed more improbable than Saturday’s win over Clemson was NC State’s defeat of LSU in the 2015 NCAA Tournament. State trailed by as many as 16 in the second half, but came all the way back to trail by one with 13 seconds left. After LSU had just missed six consecutive free throws, State had found a chance to win, but completely botched the Trevor Lacey isolation play that had been called. Somehow the ball came to perennial offensive bystander BeeJay Anya, who then hit the greatest buzzer beater this decade for the Pack.
State advanced to the second round because of Anya’s shot, and proceeded to beat number one seed Villanova two days later. The fact that it was BeeJay Anya, who averaged 4.5 PPG and hadn’t scored all game until the final minute, saving a botched play and delivering on a hook shot to keep the season alive in the tournament makes this one number one.
How would you rank them?