LSU, and the crowd at the Barclays Center, kept waiting for superstar freshman Ben Simmons to make plays.
The 6-foot-10 point forward had a double-double, with 14 rebounds and 10 assists, but it was another freshman who made game-winning plays on Tuesday in the Legends Classic in Brooklyn.
N.C. State’s Maverick Rowan scored seven of his 10 points in overtime to lead the struggling Wolfpack to a much-needed 83-72 win over the 22nd-ranked Tigers.
Rowan hit a 3-pointer at 3:05 in overtime to push N.C. State’s lead to 71-67, and the Wolfpack (3-2) never looked back.
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Rowan had struggled in regulation, missing five of his six 3-point attempts and scoring only three points, but he made the shots when N.C. State needed them most.
“One thing we all like about Maverick is that he’s not afraid to do what he does and that’s jump up and make a shot,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said.
While Rowan stood out in overtime, Simmons fouled out 37 seconds into the extra period. The projected No. 1 overall pick in the next NBA draft didn’t attempt a field goal in the first half and made just one in the game.
N.C. State decided to clog the lane and make Simmons a passer, which he was more than willing to do, and it worked to the Wolfpack’s advantage. Simmons, who entered the game averaging 19.3 points, finished with just four points.
“We did a good job of packing in the middle and making him dish the ball,” N.C. State sophomore Caleb Martin said. “We wanted to make him more passive and make other people make plays.”
LSU (3-2) got 19 points from guard Tim Quarterman and 18 from Brandon Sampson, but it couldn’t avenge last season’s NCAA tournament loss to the Wolfpack.
The Tigers had a chance with seven seconds left in regulation to win but ran two set plays and could not get Simmons involved in either one.
N.C. State got a balanced scoring effort with five players in double-figures, led by 20 from point guard Cat Barber, who also had seven rebounds and seven assists.
The Martin twins, Caleb and Cody, combined for 30 points, 19 rebounds and seven assists. Cody Martin, a day after picking up a costly technical foul in a 79-76 loss to Arizona State, also had four steals.
Cody Martin posted up Simmons in overtime to get the fifth foul on the freshman star and get him out of the game. The N.C. State sophomore knew he made a mistake in Monday’s loss and was eager to make amends for it on Tuesday.
“It was a dumb play,” Cody Martin said of Monday’s foul. “As soon as I did it, I knew coach was going to get on me. But I just wanted to be aggressive tonight.”
N.C. State needed a last-second hook shot from BeeJay Anya to beat the Tigers in the Round of 64 in the NCAA tournament in March.
Tuesday’s game went down to the wire again with N.C. State taking a 65-63 lead on a layup by Barber with 49.9 seconds left.
Simmons tied the score with a runner in the lane, his only field goal of the contest, with 38.0 seconds left. He was fouled on the play but missed the free throw.
N.C. State got the ball and Abdul-Malik Abu appeared to hit a shot in the lane and was fouled on the play, but after a review it was ruled that Abu’s shot came after the shot clock expired.
LSU got the ball back with 7.8 seconds left but couldn’t find Simmons. After N.C. State used a foul, LSU had 1.9 seconds to try to win and again couldn’t get the ball to Simmons.
Freshman guard Antonio Blakeney (11 points) got a look for a 3-pointer from the top of the key but missed the shot.
With new life in overtime, N.C. State scored on its first possession and never trailed. Rowan hit a 3-pointer, a pair of free throws and had a layup with 37.7 seconds left to cement the win.
A night after losing to Arizona State in a tight game down the stretch, Gottfried was happy his team found a way to make the right plays with the game on the line.
“We took a big step forward,” Gottfried said. “We came together as a team a little bit more.”
Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio