RALEIGH — Lorenzo Brown missed two chances to put Virginia Tech away in regulation on Saturday afternoon.
N.C. State’s junior point guard didn’t miss in overtime. Brown’s six points and two steals in the extra frame led the Wolfpack to a 90-86 win over the last-place Hokies.
With 29 points from Erick Green, and a perfectly executed three-point possession at the end of regulation, Virginia Tech (11-14, 2-10 ACC) nearly won for the first time in 28 days.
Instead, Brown (15 points, seven assists) delivered four free throws in the final minute of overtime and his steal of Green, the nation’s leading scorer, with 14 seconds left effectively handed Virginia Tech its eighth straight loss.
It was the second straight win for the Wolfpack (18-7), which improved to 7-5 in the ACC, including a 7-2 mark with a healthy Brown.
Brown missed two-and-a-half games with an injured left ankle. N.C. State lost at Virginia on Jan. 29, in the game he got hurt, and then against Miami and Duke in the subsequent games without Brown.
With Brown back in the lineup, the Pack has won the past two games, by one point at Clemson and by four on Saturday.
“It’s nice to have him back, that’s for sure,” N.C. State senior Scott Wood said.
Wood led N.C. State with 22 points and forward Richard Howell added a double-double (10 points, 16 rebounds).
Virginia Tech made 11 3-pointers, the most N.C. State has allowed this season, but the Wolfpack made 31 of 43 free throws, compared to 5 of 7 for the Hokies.
Down 84-83, Brown’s steal and lead pass to Tyler Lewis in transition sent Lewis to the free-throw line with 51.8 seconds left in overtime. Lewis (13 points) made both free throws to put State up 85-84.
After Jarell Eddie (17 points) missed a 3-point attempt for Virginia Tech, Brown got fouled on State’s next possession and he buried both of his free throws for an 87-84 lead. Brown was able to steal the ball from Green with 16 seconds left and then made two more free throws to stretch the Pack’s lead to 89-84.
“I’m just another piece to the puzzle,” said Brown, who finished with 15 points and seven assists. “When we put it together, we’re pretty good.”
Brown would have preferred to end the game in regulation but he missed a free throw with 15.1 seconds left to give the Hokies extra life.
Eddie made a 3-pointer with 9.2 seconds left in regulation to cut the Pack’s lead to 77-75. After Eddie’s 3, Wood made one free throw and missed one, giving Virginia Tech the ball, down 78-75 with 8.1 seconds left.
N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried had Brown foul Green, about 35 feet from the basket, to prevent Green from getting off a game-tying 3-pointer.
Green made the first free throw and then missed the second on purpose. Eddie swooped in from behind the 3-point line, leaving before the ball touched the rim, and put back Green’s missed free throw with 4.3 seconds left to tie the game at 78.
“(Coach James Johnson) told me to miss it on the right side and I did,” Green said. “It was just a perfect play, and Jarell made it work for us.”
Brown actually got a good look at the end of regulation, a 3-pointer from the top of the key which would have won the game, but it was too strong.
Brown scored the first two points of overtime and Wood made his season-high sixth 3-pointer of the game to give the Wolfpack a working margin in overtime.
His team made him sweat out the win in overtime but the end result was what mattered most, Gottfried said.
“It wasn’t the prettiest win but at the end of the day, that’s what it was, it was an important win for our team,” Gottfried said.