Johnson sinks late free throws to lead NC State over Clemson
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Markell Johnson hit two free throws with 2.6 seconds left and North Carolina State came from 18 down in the first half to beat Clemson 59-58 in Wednesday’s second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.
The Tigers had a final chance after Johnson's free throws, but Marcquise Reed's heave from a few steps inside of halfcourt wasn't close to end it.
Johnson had 23 points for the eighth-seeded Wolfpack (22-10), who survived to win a game that both teams needed to help their NCAA Tournament hopes as bubble teams.
Reed scored 16 points for the ninth-seeded Tigers (19-13), who dominated the first half in a rematch of a game won by the Wolfpack on Braxton Beverly's buzzer-beating 3-pointer in January.
Clemson made just 6 of 31 shots (19 percent) after halftime, including a run of more than 11 minutes without a basket and nearly seven minutes without a point.
The Tigers could be left to lament this one on Selection Sunday. They led 36-18 at one point and shot 52 percent in the first half to lead by 16 at the break. And after giving up the lead with about 5½ minutes left, they got it back on a 3-pointer from Reed and a stickback from Elijah Thomas - only to see a whistle on Clyde Trapp send Johnson to the line on his off-balance shot to hit the winning free throws.
The Wolfpack advanced to Thursday’s quarterfinals to face second-ranked and top-seeded Virginia.
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