The recap is slow coming together because I’m having trouble putting together thoughts on what just happened, which was definitely a disaster, and yet somehow also a disaster that did not result in a loss.
NC State took a nine-point lead into the last minute after a Tech free throw, then turned the ball over on in-bounds plays three straight times, the first two of which led to Tech three-pointers, the third becoming a re-turnover gift from the Hokies that probably saved State’s night.
It really is amazing how such a small amount of time can suddenly feel like an oppressive eternity, and NC State did an incredible job of putting this game into the air with a poor response. If Virginia Tech doesn’t turn the ball back over that third time, which took some air out of the balloon and gave State a couple free throws, then who knows, man.
Virginia Tech did not even need to foul after that turnover—it was a three-point game with 39 seconds left—but perhaps out of sympathy, offered that gift. Jarkel Joiner obliged and made both, giving State a moment’s breather.
Tech got a quick two right back, Greg Gantt split a pair at the line, and then a forced turnover finally restored a sense of sanity. Virginia Tech had to claw back in the normal way from there, with only a more standard level of shenanigans at play—which was not enough.
Y’know, so, what we saw there, with that game, is there were some things that happened. There’s no good way to process how NC State can basically own the majority of a game against a good team on the road, then do more than enough to blow it, but somehow not blow it—undermining and distracting from just how good the team was for most of the night.
That was a hell of a thing.