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Saint Louis rallies, tops N.C. State in OT

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Updated 12 months ago on
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ORLANDO, Fla. — Forward Rob Loe scored 22 points and pulled down 15 rebounds to lead Saint Louis to a come-from-behind, 83-80 overtime win over North Carolina State in a second-round NCAA Tournament game at Amway Center on Thursday.

Guard Jordair Jett added 18 points and guard Mike McCall Jr. had 12 and six assists for the fifth-seeded Billikens, who rallied from 14 points down in the final five minutes of regulation to force the overtime and survived a last-second shot in regulation that could have given North Carolina State the win.

“Our guys plugged away one play at a time,” Saint Louis coach Jim Crews said. “We made plenty of mistakes, they made plenty of mistakes, but I thought we got sharper when we started to press. It gave us some momentum and energy.”

The Billikens (27-6) advance to play fourth-seeded Louisville or 13th-seeded Manhattan on Saturday, with the winner advancing to the Midwest Regional semifinals in Indianapolis.

Forward T.J. Warren led North Carolina State (22-14) with 28 points, but the Wolfpack’s free-throw shooting problems and inability to cope with the Saint Louis press were too much to overcome. Guard Ralston Turner scored 16 for North Carolina State, and guard Desmond Lee had 13.

“That was heartbreaking,” North Carolina State coach Mark Gottfried said. “We feel like we let one slip away. We missed 17 free throws in the second half, had some defensive breakdowns, a couple of turnovers, it’s one of those things. It’s hard to explain.”

Saint Louis rallied from a 59-45 deficit in the final five minutes of regulation to send the game into overtime tied at 70.

The Billikens led 81-76 with 58 seconds left in the extra period when Lee hit a driving layup and Warren turned a steal into a potential three-point play. However, the Wolfpack senior missed the free throw with 37 seconds that would have tied the game.

“We’ve been a good foul shooting team recently, but it just kind of steamrolled on us,” Gottfried said.

Warren said, “Uncharacteristic things happen and that’s what happened today.”

After forward Tanner Lacona made one of two free throws to give the Billikens an 82-80 lead, Lee could not get another driving layup to fall.

McCall gave Saint Louis an 83-80 lead with a free throw, and North Carolina State had one more chance to tie, but Turner’s 3-point attempt in the final second hit the front rim and fell out.

North Carolina State led 59-45 with 5:03 to play but scored only one field goal the rest of the game and made only 10 of 21 free throws to open the door to give Saint Louis a chance to rally.

The Billikens got within 65-62 when forward Grandy Glaze made a steal and layup with 1:11 to go, but Warren followed with a three-point play to extend North Carolina State’s lead to 68-62 eight second later.

Saint Louis kept pressing, and forward Jake Barnett’s 3-pointer and a layup by Loe made it 69-68 with 35 seconds to play.

“The press is what won us the game, and we’re not really a pressing team,” McCall said. “I’m sure (North Carolina State) saw the press and said, ‘What are they doing?’

“I know they looked confused, and when they made a couple of mistakes, it just got the momentum going our way.”

Warren made one free throw to push the lead to 70-68, but Jett then made his driving layup to tie the score with 18 seconds left in regulation. Jett missed a free throw that would have given Saint Louis the lead.

Wolfpack guard Tyler Lewis missed a runner in the lane with one second to go to send the game to overtime.

Both teams struggled with their shooting before halftime. Warren had 10 first-half points for North Carolina State, but the Wolfpack made only 13 of 31 shots (41.9 percent) from the field and didn’t score in the final three minutes of the half.

Saint Louis started the game with a couple of 3-pointers from Loe, but the Billikens quickly went cold and needed to make their final three attempts to shoot 38.5 percent (10 of 26) for the half.

After trailing 6-0, North Carolina State caught the Billikens at 11

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