N.C. State’s red-hot second-half shooting helped erase a 17-point deficit that Garner’s Jerome Robinson helped Boston College build.
But the former Broughton High School player made the plays at the end to seal the Eagles’ upset anyway.
In a game that saw five ties in the final five minutes, Robinson’s jumper with 17.8 seconds left put Boston College up for good and his steal with 11.8 seconds left helped the Eagles post a 91-87 ACC tournament win Wednesday at the Barclays Center.
Robinson scored 26 points for No. 12 seed Boston College (19-14), which advances to Thursday’s quarterfinals to meet No. 4 seed Clemson (22-8). Ky Bowman, from Havelock, added 24 points for the Eagles.
"It's big for me," Robinson said. "I think it's big for the team as well. We lost to them earlier in the year at N.C. State (82-66) and just to get them back in the tournament definitely feels good."
N.C. State (21-11) will await Sunday’s NCAA tournament selection show to learn its postseason fate.
"For whatever reason, we didn't play extremely well to start the game," N.C. State coach Kevin Keatts said. "But what we'll take from this is that when it's one-and-done, you've got to play the entire game. You've got to finish games."
Boston College outplayed the Wolfpack in the first half to lead 45-31 before pushing its lead to 51-34 early in the second half.
But N.C. State mounted a stirring comeback that saw it make 22 of 30 second-half shots (73 percent).
Allerik Freeman finished with 21 points for the Wolfpack while Omer Yurtseven scored 20. Torin Dorn scored 13 points for N.C. State despite playing just four minutes in the first half due to foul trouble.
With Dorn back on the court, N.C. State made 10 of its first 15 shots of the second half. Dorn scored five points during that time. But the Wolfpack’s struggles on defense continued and the Eagles maintained a 69-53 lead with 9:29 to play.
But N.C. State continued to push things.
The Wolfpack cut the deficit to 69-59 by unleashing a 6-0 run, fueled by hustle plays it had lacked throughout the game up to that point. Yurtseven grabbed offensive rebounds and scored inside on two of the possessions. In between, Markell Johnson drove through the lane for an impressive one-handed dunk.
When Sam Hunt drilled a 3-pointer from in front of the N.C. State bench with 6:45 left to make the score 73-64, Boston College’s lead fell out of double digits for the first time since the first half.
But the Pack was just getting started.
After Bowman hit a running jumper for Boston College to give the Eagles a 75-64 lead, N.C. State scored the game’s next 11 points to complete its comeback.
Allerik Freeman hit a 3-pointer and, after two empty Boston College possessions, Hunt hit another 3-pointer in front of his bench and was fouled. His free throw left Boston College up 75-73.
After Steffon Mitchell missed the front end of a one-and-bonus, Yurtseven’s bank shot tied the game at 75-all with 4:18 to play.
With 2:22 to play, Nik Popovic hit a driving shot in the lane and was fouled by Braxton Beverly. Popovic’s free throw put Boston College up 80-77.
But Freeman responded with a 3-pointer with 2:03 left tying the game at 80.
Robinson’s 3-pointer with 1:35 left gave Boston College an 83-80 lead. But Freeman responded with a 3-pointer with 1:13 left to tie the game at 83.
Popovic’s basket inside gave the Eagles an 85-83 lead. Dorn’s free throws at 40.7 tied the game at 85.
That’s when Robinson’s jump shot put Boston College up for good a 87-85.
"They were icing the ball screen and I was trying to get around the big fella (Yurtseven)," Robinson said. "By the time I got a little space, and had seen he was trying to cut me off and probably take a charge there, I just pulled up for the mid-range. I can shoot midrange so I was just getting to my comfort spot and getting to a spot that I knew I could make a shot."
Six second later, after a timeout, Robinson tipped Freeman’s in-bounds pass and Bowman stole it. He made two free throws giving the Eagles an 89-85 lead with 11.8 seconds to play.
Boston College played like the better, more engaged team in the first half. The Eagles hit 51 percent of their first half shots, collecting 10 assists on 18 made field goals with excellent driving and passing.
Boston College led 9-7 when Bowman scored eight consecutive points, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and a jumper in the lane for a 17-7 Eagles lead.
Despite having Torin Dorn on the bench with two fouls, the Wolfpack cut the Eagles' lead to 25-19 on a pair of Yurtseven free throws with 9:19 to play.
When Hunt drilled a 3-pointer with 5:45 left in the first half, Boston College’s lead was 31-25.
But Eagles scored the next seven points while N.C. State produced four scoreless possessions. Bowman hit a jumper. Robinson drove through the lane to hit a scooping layup, draw a foul and add a free throw.
When Steffon Mitchell grabbed an offensive rebound and scored with 3:49 left in the half, Boston College led 38-25.
The Eagles’ first-half lead grew as large as 16 points on a Jordan Chatman 3-pointer with 30 seconds to play. Lennard Freeman’s rebound basket in the final seconds left N.C. State down 45-31 at intermission.