Torin Dorn dropped a career high. Markell Johnson exploded in the second half. It wasn’t quite enough.
The Wolfpack’s season ended in the quarterfinals of the NIT Wednesday when Johnson’s halfcourt heave came up short and Lipscomb walked off the Reynolds floor with a 94-93 victory.
The game was, as it was expected to be, a fast-paced offensive explosion. The Pack took advantage of mismatches on the perimeter and got the ball inside with ease in the first half. Dorn was unstoppable, scoring 21 of his 33 in the first period. The Pack actually led for most of the game behind Dorn’s outburst, and second half Markell nearly carried them to the finish line.
Johnson hit four absurd three pointers in the final 10 minutes after not scoring even a point in the first half. He was huge down the stretch, but not quite as huge as senior Lipscomb guard Garrison Mathews, who made 1 trillion threes on his way to a career high of 1 zillion points.
It was a back and forth contest and Mathews kept the Bisons in the game with his shooting up until they made their final push down 91-89 with less than a minute to play.
Attempting to get the ball to Markell Johnson for a chance to salt the game away at the line, the Pack couldn’t get the ball inbounds. State did have one timeout left, but instead forced a pass that ended with a turnover that led directly to a go-ahead three for Lipscomb.
Markell Johnson dropped in a go-ahead layup with relative ease, but State couldn’t come up with one stop when it needed it most, allowing a game winner with less than two seconds to play. So it goes.
Lipscomb as a team was pretty brilliant tonight. State definitely blew it on the late inbounds pass, but you have to tip your cap to a team that shot it as well, and as timely, as the Bisons did tonight. They made big shots all night including a tough game winner that was pretty well defended.
For NC State, the NIT kind of feels like a microcosm of the whole season. Just when you thought the Pack was on its way to something cool, some stupid turnover happens and it goes to waste. It sucks to have a season end on a game like that, and you have to feel for Dorn, whose dominance falls by the wayside in the eyes of many because of his lone error of the whole night. But that’s single elimination basketball. It’ll rip your heart out and stomp on it, even in the NIT.
Thanks to Torin Dorn for coming to State and congrats on a hell of a career. See almost everybody else next year.
The baseball team is 25-1.