A day that started with a bang for NC State basketball with the commitment of 5-star point guard Robert Dillingham ended with an even bigger, much longer bang as NC State beat Nebraska 104-100 in a game that took four overtimes to decide.
NC State got off to a good start offensively and built a nine-point lead before it began to spin its tires a bit. State can’t really afford long stretches of bad offense because it’s far from excellent on defense, and the Pack’s shooting struggles were extensive through the meat of this game. It seemed like it would doom them as the Huskers were getting to the rim easily and scoring in transition without much resistance. Nebraska took a one-point lead into the half.
State shot 0-9 from three in the first ten minutes of the second half and was outscored 20-9 over that stretch. Nebraska built a 12-point lead behind this run. After another bucket and with a 61-47 lead, it looked like things were going to spiral for State, but they didn’t. State has a laundry list of issues but heart is not one of them. The Pack reeled off 14 straight to tie the game.
Hellems hit a three in the corner to knot the game at 61 before a bizarre sequence resulted in four ejections. Nebraska’s Lat Mayen threw what appeared to be an unprovoked elbow at Jericole Hellems that started a whole kerfuffle, all of which led to Ted Valentine getting to do what he does best: blow his whistle like crazy and point at a bunch of shit. Nobody is really sure why Cam Hayes was ejected, but he left the game along with three Nebraska players, or maybe two. Nobody really knows for sure. A guy was playing in the fourth overtime that the broadcasters thought was ejected. It was a mess.
Once all the confusion cleared and the circus left town, Nebraska built a slight lead before Dereon Seabron gave NC State a one-point advantage with his own little mini-run. Nebraska responded with a bucket to make it 70-69. Seabron was fouled on the ensuing possession but made only one of two to tie the game. State’s defense would hold on the final possession of regulation to force overtime, although it definitely got away with a foul.
Both teams scored four points apiece in the first overtime. All of State’s were scored by Seabron, who went for an outrageous 39 points and 18 rebounds and was the entire offense down the stretch. Seabron’s effort in this game was nothing short of remarkable. He was impossible to guard and everything ran through him after Hayes’ ejection. He was up to the challenge.
State trailed 85-80 in the second overtime before a 6-0 run that was capped by Seabron hitting a go-ahead bucket with 4.6 seconds remaining, his 30th point of the night. State led 86-85 before Terquavion Smith committed a horrible foul 80 feet from the basket with just under three seconds left, sending an 87% free throw shooter to the line. Nebraska’s Bryce McGowens made the first but missed the second, extending the game to a third overtime.
In the third overtime, a lot of stuff happened.
In the fourth overtime, NC State finally won the basketball game. State got big effort plays down the stretch from Ebe and Thomas Allen, the latter of which did not play in regulation. Smith atoned for his earlier mistake with a huge three, and Seabron of course scored some more. It was a game of heart and will with players fouling out left and right and everyone running on fumes, but NC State had enough in the tank to cross the finish line. This team has a lot to overcome going forward, especially if Casey Morsell is out long-term, but it showed tonight that it has no shortage of fight. What an incredible, absurd, bizarre, and ridiculous contest. NC State won.