NC State Hangs On To Top Villanova

n..c. state

Gavin Grant hit two of three free throws with 0.4 seconds left and North Carolina State beat No. 20 Villanova 69-68 to win the Old Spice Classic Championship on Sunday night.

Villanova (4-1) seemed to clinch the win when Dante Cunningham tipped in a missed layup with 2.2 seconds remaining, but Cunningham fouled Grant the next trip down.

He missed the first one, then drained the other two. Villanova threw a long inbound pass, but it bounced up and off the backboard as time expired.

Courtney Fells had 21 points for N.C. State (4-1), while J.J. Hickson and Grant each added 15. Fells was named the MVP of the Old Spice Classic.

Freshman Corey Fisher almost single-handedly kept Villanova close. He scored 21, several on impressive floaters from acrobatic drives in the lane. Scottie Reynolds added 13 points and Casiem Drummond had 17 rebounds and nine points before fouling out.

The teams played tight all game, with six ties and 18 lead changes.

The Wildcats' pesky defense and full-court press forced N.C. State into 22 turnovers, 16 of them in the first half. The Wolfpack were averaging nearly a turnover a minute deep into the period, but Villanova couldn't create much separation.

The Wildcats missed their first six shots and fell behind 7-0. They claimed their first lead at 15-14 midway through the first half.

N.C. State closed with a 15-4 run to take a 38-33 lead at halftime. Fells scored eight of those points on a 3-pointer, three free throws after drawing a foul on another 3 and a put-back dunk.

For the third straight game, Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe used McDonald's All-American freshman and leading scorer J.J. Hickson off the bench. Hickson didn't attempt his first shot until 15 minutes into the game, but finished with 15 points and six rebounds.

Shane Clark, Villanova's second-leading scorer with 15 points a game, went down hard late in the first half and didn't return. He had two points on 1-for-3 shooting.