RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)—Sean Marshall had plenty to think about besides simply winning the game for No. 11 Boston College. He enjoyed playing to the raucous road crowd which derided his every move, and there was a little matter of avenging an embarrassing loss from earlier in the season.
Oh, and he was coming off one of the worst performances of his career.
“Just a lot of emotions out there, it was an intense game,” Marshall said. “I just got into the game, and it went that way.”
His three-point play early in the second overtime gave the Eagles the lead for good and they beat No. 15 North Carolina State 74-72 Saturday, giving the Wolfpack their first losing streak of the season.
N.C. State had two chances in the waning seconds, but BC’s Sean Williams swatted away a 3-pointer by Engin Atsur to ruin the first. Then Atsur lofted an off-balanced air ball right before the buzzer.
“Very little came easily for us,” N.C. State coach Herb Sendek said. “Boston College was great defensively, especially down the stretch.”
After scoring just five points in a loss to Virginia earlier in the week, Marshall finished with 22 points, including the only three points for BC in the final OT. Craig Smith had 18 points, 14 rebounds and six assists for the Eagles (22-6, 9-5 Atlantic Coast Conference). Ilian Evtimov led the Wolfpack (21-7, 10-5) with 16 points.
N.C. State had several chances to win, but each time BC came up with the necessary stop. Williams, who tied a career high with eight blocks, denied Tony Bethel with 5.1 seconds left in the first OT to give the Eagles an opportunity, but Smith missed everything on a 3 in the final second.
It was the third time this season the Wolfpack needed 50 minutes to decide the outcome, and they fell to 2-1 in those games. They have a week off before completing the regular season at Wake Forest, hoping to reverse a two-game skid before the ACC tournament.
“A lot of things can happen. This is the ACC, and it’s always crazy,” Evtimov said. “We’ve got to go and win at Wake Forest. That’s all we can control right now. The rest is out of our control.”
The Eagles are headed the other way.
This victory was their 11th in the last 13 games and briefly moved them within a half-game of third-place North Carolina in the conference. Perhaps just as important, BC avenged an earlier home loss to N.C. State, a 78-60 dismantling that left the Eagles 0-3 in the ACC.
And apparently, the Wolfpack’s players had some not-so-nice things to say about their counterparts following that game.
“They talked about taking our heart, about not even making us quit because we already knew we were going to lose,” Williams said. “We just came out here with a lot of effort, a lot of hustle, to show that we’re in this for real. We’re not no punks.”
Jared Dudley, the Eagles’ second-leading scorer, finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds after scoring a season-low six against the Cavaliers.
In the rematch, Marshall had all of BC’s points in the second overtime. His three-point play was set up thanks to another block by Williams, who denied Evtimov to start a rare fast break. Marshall eventually scored as he was fouled by Atsur and smiled to the crowd as he went to the line.
“I kind of get into that,” Marshall said. “The coaches may not like it, but I think it helps me out a little bit.”
Cedric Simmons converted the first of two free throws to bring the Wolfpack within two points, but they never got any closer. Evtimov threw a pass intended for Simmons out of bounds, then had a 3-pointer rattle out of the rim into the waiting hands of Smith.
The Eagles weren’t doing much on offense, either, and Cameron Bennerman initiated the final sequence with a deflection to give N.C. State possession. Not even a timeout by Sendek could wake up his team’s lethargic offense, and Williams made sure BC left with its victory.
“It was amazing, that guy is an incredible athlete,” Smith said. “He stepped up in a clutch time.”