TUCSON — Nic Wise found another way to beat the buzzer. Two nights after he won a game with a miracle 3-pointer, Wise drove the length of the court for a layup with a second remaining, and Arizona defeated North Carolina State 76-74 on Wednesday night.
TUCSON — Nic Wise found another way to beat the buzzer.
Two nights after he won a game with a miracle 3-pointer, Wise drove the length of the court for a layup with a second remaining, and Arizona defeated North Carolina State 76-74 on Wednesday night.
"Pretty much the same thing was going through my mind — you know, the will not to lose," said Wise, who finished with 17 points.
On Monday night, Wise stunned Lipscomb by hitting a 3-pointer at the horn in overtime — a play that stood up after a lengthy video review by the officials.
This time, no review was needed.
The Wildcats (6-5) blew an eight-point lead in the final 37 seconds as the Wolfpack made two 3-pointers and converted on a three-point play.
"We weren't a smart team in the last three minutes," Miller said.
But after North Carolina State's Javier Gonzalez barreled into the lane to tie it at 74-74, Wise wove through a sea of red jerseys and laid the ball in.
Wise celebrated his latest heroics by leaping upon the press table and pointing to the exuberant McKale Center crowd.
"Just another thrilling game in McKale," Arizona coach Sean Miller said.
Gonzalez scored 18 points, including 10 in the final 30 seconds, for the Wolfpack (8-3), who showed a lot of grit three days after losing their ACC opener at Wake Forest.
"I thought our guys did a really great job of maintaining their composure," N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe said.
Arizona has reached the NCAA tournament 25 straight years, the longest active streak and two shy of North Carolina's record run from 1975-2001. But with few notable nonconference wins, Arizona needed a win over a major-conference opponent before wading into the mediocre Pac-10.
They got it against the Wolfpack, thanks to Wise and Derrick Williams, who scored 24 points.
Muscling inside, the 6-foot-8 Williams scored Arizona's first eight points of the second half. And with about a minute to play and Arizona clinging to a four-point lead, Williams stuffed Dennis Horner in the paint.
Then Wise took over. He scored five points in the final 66 seconds, including three free throws. And he stayed in the game despite picking up his fourth foul with 7:41 to play.
"Coach is telling us not to let Wise bail us out, man, but he is," said forward Jamelle Horne, who returned after missing a game with a foot injury.
Arizona came out flat, as the Wolfpack jumped ahead 8-1 in the first three minutes, and Wise sat down with his second foul with 17:26 to go in the first half.
With their best player on the bench, the Wildcats suddenly awoke. They went on a 9-0 run ignited by Horne, who hit a 3-pointer from the left wing, then stole the ball and dunked.
Arizona later went on a 13-2 run and took a 31-23 lead at halftime. Things were going so well for Arizona that 7-foot sophomore center Alex Jacobson hoisted his first career 3-pointer — and made it.
The Wolfpack, meanwhile, had more turnovers (11) than buckets (10) in the first half.
North Carolina State was without junior forward Tracy Smith, suspended for violating the Atlantic Coast Conference policy regarding comments on officials. Smith made the comments after a 67-59 loss at Wake Forest on Dec. 20.