NC State men win seventh straight game to reach Sweet 16

PITTSBURGH, PA (NC State Athletics) The 11th-seed NC State men’s basketball team went on an 11-1 run in overtime on its way to defeating 14th-seed Oakland, 79-73, Saturday evening at PPG Paints Arena.With the win, NC State advances to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2015. The Pack will face the winner of tomorrow’s game between 10th-seed Colorado and 2nd-seed Marquette in Dallas on Friday.DJ Burns, Jr., led the Pack with his second double-double of the season as he scored 24 points and pulled down 11 rebounds while also passing out four assists.Burns is the first NC State player since 1985 to record a 20-point, 10-rebound performance in the NCAA Tournament.The Rock Hill, S.C., native finished the game 9-of-12 from the floor and 6-of-7 from the foul line.Like Burns, Mohamed Diarra also posted a double-double as he scored 11 points and pulled down a team-high 13 rebounds. It’s Diarra’s fourth double-double in the last five games.

Michael O’Connell added 12 points and Casey Morsell and DJ Horne each chipped in 11 points.O’Connell passed out a season-high eight assists which are the most by an NC State player this season.The Pack jumped out to a 9-2 lead and never trailed in the first half, taking a 32-29 advantage into the locker room. In the second half, NC State pushed its advantage back up to seven early in the half, but could not create any space on the Golden Grizzlies as they stayed close with the Pack.

Trey Townsend finally gave Oakland its first lead of the game, 63-61, with a three-point play with 2:49 to go. Oakland stayed in front until O’Connell had a three-point play of his own to put the Pack in front 66-64 with 55 seconds left in regulation.Oakland tied the game with two free throws and after both teams got a defensive stop, Morsell’s half court heave just missed to send the game to overtime. In overtime, Oakland had a 69-68 with 2:25 left when the Pack took control. Burns started the run with a put-back lay-up to put NC State in front. After a defensive stop, DJ Horne made a jumper to push NC State’s advantage to three. Oakland made one free throw to get back within two, but Burns found Jayden Taylor for a three-pointer to give NC State a 75-70 lead with 1:13 to play.The Pack got two more stops on Oakland’s ensuing possessions and made four straight free throws to take a 79-70 lead with 17 seconds left. The Golden Grizzlies made a three with 14 seconds to go, but neither team scored again as NC State advanced to the Sweet 16.

NC State outscored Oakland in points in the paint, 36-24, and the Pack passed out a season-high tying 19 assists in the win.