N.C. State was a missed tip-in at the buzzer away from going to overtime on Wednesday night against North Carolina. Had the Wolfpack's improbable late-game rally forced the game to overtime, it would have come with no shortage of controversy after a clock malfunction gave the Wolfpack extra time in the final minutes.
The ACC on Thursday confirmed that the game clock and play clock froze for about 15 seconds late in UNC's eventual 81-79 victory. With one minute, 20 seconds to play, the clock stopped – and nobody noticed. Not the coaching staffs on either bench. Not the players. Not the officials.
The stoppage didn't affect the outcome of the game but it could have, since N.C. State in effect had an extra 15 seconds while it attempted to erase a deficit that was as large as 12 points in the second half.
UNC led 74-71 and had possession when the clock stopped. The Tar Heels missed a shot and then a jump ball was called after a scramble for the rebound. UNC retained possession and then committed a turnover on a shot clock violation.
The ACC is investigating how the clock stopped and why.