Hinnant leads East Carolina to 75-69 upset of N.C. State
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP)—Sam Hinnant scored a career-high 30 points and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:09 left to help East Carolina stun North Carolina State 75-69 on Saturday night, giving the Pirates their first win against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent.
Cory Farmer added a key layup and two free throws late for the Pirates (4-5), who had lost all 57 games against ACC teams coming in.
Hinnant finished 10-for-13 from the field and went 6-for-8 from 3-point range, while Darrell Jenkins scored 11 points and went 4-for-4 from the line in the final seconds to seal it for East Carolina.
When Gavin Grant’s final 3-pointer missed at the horn, the rowdy East Carolina fans—who grew steadily louder as the game wore on—stormed the court.
Grant scored 25 points to lead N.C. State (4-3), which shot just 42 percent and was outrebounded 34-33 by the undersized but scrappy Pirates.
It was hard to imagine that the Pirates could pull of this kind of win against a team picked to finish third in the ACC, particularly after a one-sided home loss to No. 18 Clemson here Wednesday night. But the Pirates got hot from behind the arc, knocking down 10 of 18 3-pointers, and got some key plays late to make this game look completely different.
They fought the Wolfpack evenly throughout the second half and were tied in the final 2 1/2 minutes until Hinnant—who was unstoppable all night—made the game’s biggest shot by draining a 3 from in front of East Carolina’s bench for a 67-64 lead with 2:09 left.
Farmer immediately followed with a layup off a stolen inbound pass, pushing the margin to 69-64 and sending the rowdy Pirates fans into ear-ringing celebration.
N.C. State twice closed to within three, the last coming on Grant’s drive that made it 71-68 with 29.3 seconds left. But Jenkins knocked down a pair of free throws to push the margin to five and, after a free throw from Grant, hit two more with 8.1 seconds left to make it 75-69.
N.C. State hadn’t played since an 81-58 loss at Michigan State on Nov. 28, a lethargic performance that coach Sidney Lowe partly attributed to fatigue following a Thanksgiving trip to Orlando, Fla., for the Old Spice Classic. But the Wolfpack’s performance against the Pirates did little to back that claim, with East Carolina repeatedly outhustling the Wolfpack the longer the game went on and it became apparent that the Pirates weren’t going away.
Most of the headlines in this intense instate rivalry had come in football, most notably a postgame brawl between fans in 1987 that temporarily suspended the series. N.C. State had won all 17 meetings on the hardwood before Saturday, including last year’s game in which N.C. State rallied from 15 down in the first half for a 64-57 home win.
This week’s homestand against Clemson and N.C. State marked the first time an ACC school had visited Minges Coliseum in almost four decades.