Johnson’s heave lifts NC State past UNC Greensboro, 80-77

North Carolina State's Markell Johnson (11) shoots as Wake Forest's Jaylen Hoard (10) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019 in Raleigh, N.C. (Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer via AP)
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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Markell Johnson hit a running shot from near halfcourt at the buzzer to help North Carolina State beat UNC Greensboro 80-77 on Sunday.

Johnson’s shot came immediately after a tough tying basket from Isaiah Miller with 2.1 seconds left in what turned into a wild finish between in-state programs.

Miller’s shot in the lane banked off the glass and dropped through the rim. N.C. State (8-2) then inbounded to Johnson, who launched a shot that skied through the Greensboro Coliseum before dropping cleanly through the net.

Johnson was immediately mobbed by teammates into the scorer’s table to celebrate the win, with Johnson waving his left arm amid the festive gathering.

Johnson finished with 19 points for the Wolfpack, who blew a 13-point second-half lead but hung on thanks to Johnson’s final heave.

Miller scored 21 of his 26 points after halftime for the Spartans (8-3).


N.C. State: N.C. State had been off since last weekend’s win at Wake Forest to even its Atlantic Coast Conference record at 1-1. The Wolfpack had ended that win on a concerning note with Jericole Hellems having to be stretchered off late after banging his head on the court when going down in a battle for a rebound, though he played in this one after being a game-time decision. N.C. State shot 60% for the game and hit 13 of 26 3-pointers, the last standing out as a highlight-reel moment.

UNC Greensboro: The Spartans already had a notable win this year, beating Georgetown on the road on Nov. 30. This time they were trying to win a second straight meeting with the Wolfpack, the last coming two years ago in Raleigh when they rallied from 14 down before halftime. They were also playing without second-leading scorer and rebounder Kaleb Hunter, who is sidelined by an ankle injury.


N.C. State: No. 12 Auburn hosts the Wolfpack on Thursday in the second game of a home-and-home series, with N.C. State winning the first last season.

UNC Greensboro: The Spartans visit Vermont on Wednesday.