It took a full-court pass, a tap dance on the end line and an acrobatic shot for NC State to win a game coach Mark Gottfried said he was "crazy" to schedule.
With the visiting Wolfpack tied with St. Bonaventure and less than three seconds left in regulation on Tuesday night, C.J. Williams threw a length-of-the-court inbound pass that nearly hit the scoreboard above the court. NC State's C.J. Leslie somehow hauled in the pass, kept his balance and sank a one-handed shot over Andrew Nicholson from a terrible angle to give the Wolfpack a 67-65 victory.
The lone knock against Leslie's game winner was whether he'd stepped out of bounds prior to attempting it. The admittedly choppy, grainy video above appears to show his right foot stepped on the end line, but St. Bonaventure can't complain too vociferously since better defense would have prevented that play from being successful.
NC State (7-4) will take the win — disputed or not — because the Wolfpack could ill afford to lose a fifth game prior to the start of ACC play. Granted, previous losses against Vanderbilt, Indiana, Stanford and Syracuse aren't embarrassing, but NC State needs more quality wins to go with its come-from-behind victory over Texas last month.
Maybe the best sign for the Wolfpack was that Leslie was on the court at all in the game's final minutes. The talented sophomore has battled cramping and dehydration late in previous close games against Stanford and Vanderbilt, but he scored 12 points and played almost the entire second half on Tuesday.
For St. Bonaventure (5-5), Tuesday's home loss was the culmination of a disappointing nonconference season.
With star Andrew Nicholson back for his senior year and a decent supporting cast around him, this was supposed to be the season the Bonnies took a step forward and contended for an NCAA tournament berth. There's still time to turn things around in Atlantic 10 play, but St. Bonaventure has suffered a bad loss to Arkansas State and squandered chances for marquee wins against NC State, Illinois, Virginia Tech and Cleveland State.