No. 8 NC State stays perfect, tops Virginia Tech 70-61 in OT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A late steal nearly cost Aislinn Konig and North Carolina State their spot as the only unbeaten team — women’s or men’s — in Division I.

Konig scored 20 points, including a go-ahead 3 in overtime that helped the eighth-ranked Wolfpack beat Virginia Tech 70-61 on Sunday.

“With the fact that we’re on this pedestal right now, everybody is going to be gunning for us,” Konig said. “We have to play our best game, every game.”

N.C. State (18-0, 5-0 ACC) led 59-58 with 9.1 seconds left in regulation and was set to inbound when coach Wes Moore started shouting for a timeout. He wanted the advance the ball from underneath his team’s basket to halfcourt.

But the crowd was so loud the referees didn’t hear Moore. Instead, Taylor Emery stole the inbounds pass for the Hokies, drove to the basket and was fouled with 5.5 seconds remaining.

Emery made the first free throw to tie it, but missed the second. N.C. State’s Erika Cassell couldn’t convert a shot at the buzzer.

The Wolfpack outscored Virginia Tech 11-2 in overtime, leaving Moore grateful that the lack of a timeout call didn’t cost the team the game.

“The players bailed the coach out,” Moore said. “They did a heck of a job.”

Kiara Leslie scored 25 points to N.C. State.

Konig sprinted across the baseline to get open in the corner for a 3 with 2:18 left in OT, giving the Wolfpack a 64-61 advantage. She finished with five 3-pointers.

Elissa Cunane added a pair of free throws 43 seconds later to extend the advantage to five.

Virginia Tech (13-5, 0-5) dropped its fifth in a row.

After falling to No. 1 Notre Dame 80-51 on Wednesday, the Hokies found a way to send this game to overtime. But they managed only a driving layup by Regan Magarity during the extra period.

“I’m disappointed today because I thought we had a chance to win,” Virginia Tech coach Kenny Brooks said. “We lost so we have to get ready for the next one.”

Trinity Baptise shot 3-for-4 from 3-point range and scored 13 points as Virginia Tech used a barrage of 3s to stay close. The Hokies made 11 of 24 from behind the arc against an N.C. State defense that held its first 17 opponents to just 31.2 percent shooting from 3-point range.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia Tech: Despite the loss, Virginia Tech can take some solace in another strong performance against a ranked team; the Hokies also lost in overtime to Syracuse.

N.C. State: After a week off, N.C. State struggled at times on the defensive end against an excellent 3-point shooting team. The Wolfpack’s successful start in conference play has come mostly against opponents near the bottom of the ACC standings, which means N.C. State has bigger challenges and will need to play better in the weeks to come.

KEY STAT

Virginia Tech attempted just eight free throws after entering the game leading the nation in free throw percentage at 81 percent. The Hokies were 4 of 8 from the free throw line Sunday. N.C. State, which ranked second in the nation in fewest fouls committed per game, was whistled for just eight fouls and fouled just twice in the first half.

QUICK HITS

Emery entered the game shooting 84.1 percent from the free throw line and made her first four attempts before missing at the end of regulation. … Konig played all 45 minutes but said she got enough rest during timeouts to sustain her energy. “I didn’t really feel all that tired,” she said. “It was more being locked in to everything that’s happening on the floor.”… N.C. State, which ranked fifth in the nation in rebound margin entering the game, outrebounded Virginia Tech 42-25.

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech: Returns home to meet North Carolina on Thursday night.

N.C. State: Plays host to Clemson on Thursday night.