West Virginia 71, N.C. State 66
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP)—Frank Young scored 25 points, including 14 straight in the second half, and West Virginia defeated North Carolina State 71-66 on Tuesday night to advance to the NIT semifinals.
Young set the single-season school record with his first 3-pointer, then buried five more, including three in the last six minutes to help West Virginia advance to its first NIT semifinal since 1981. Young has 107 3-pointers for the year, eclipsing the mark of 101 set by Chris Leonard in 1992.
The Mountaineers (25-9), the top seed in the East Region, beat N.C. State for the second time this season. The sixth-seeded Wolfpack (20-16) had won five of their last six but couldn’t contain Young, who hit consecutive 3-pointers to give WVU a 64-62 advantage with 2:52 left.
Alex Ruoff followed with another 3-pointer as the Mountaineers grabbed the edge for good at 67-65 with 2:00 left.
N.C. State’s Courtney Fells missed a 3-pointer that would have tied the game with four seconds remaining. West Virginia’s Da’Sean Butler then made two free throws, setting off a celebration at the Coliseum in Morgantown. Loudspeakers blared John Denver’s “Country Roads” and Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.”
The Mountaineers play South Region top seed Mississippi State in the semifinals on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Ruoff finished with 15 points and had a career-high 11 assists. DaSean Butler added eight points off the bench.
N.C. State was led by Brandon Costner with 25 points. Engin Astur added 14 and Gavin Grant scored 12.
West Virginia built a 24-16 lead with 6:00 left in the first half. N.C. State, playing its seventh game in two weeks, narrowed the gap to 28-26 at the break, and then took its first lead, 34-33, on Atsur’s 3-pointer with 17 minutes remaining.
The lead changed 13 times and there were six ties.
West Virginia’s 25 wins are its most in 19 years.
N.C. State. which lost to West Virginia 71-60 on Dec. 6, has dropped four consecutive games to the Mountaineers, two of which have come in the NIT.
West Virginia won the NIT in 1942.