No. 8 vs. No. 9 games are supposed to be the most competitive of the
first second round matchups, but for the majority Friday’s 8 vs. 9 matchup in the East Region, North Carolina State was no match for Temple.
While the No. 9 Owls did hold on for the narrow victory thanks to some clutch free throw shooting and some generous officiating down the stretch, the Wolfpack at least made things interesting. With just over 17 minutes remaining, Temple held a 44-26 lead and looked ready to play out the string, but NC State’s offence suddenly broke out for 46 points in those 17 minutes, climbing to within two in the final two seconds before ultimately falling short in a 76-72 result.
Khalif Wyatt was the player of the game for the Owls and may go down as the player of the day by the time Friday’s second round action comes to an end, as the senior guard finished with 31 points, five assists, three steals and two rebounds, assuring him of at least one more game as Temple looks for their first Sweet 16 berth since 2001. To get there, they’ll have to beat the winner of No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 16 James Madison, and Wyatt wasn’t hiding the fact that he and his teammates want to beat the best.
As for North Carolina State’s star, junior forward C.J. Leslie fouled out in the final minute after posting 20 points, five rebounds, two assists and two blocks, a solid showing if that goes down as his final collegiate game. Leslie is expected to be a late first round or early second round pick this June if he declares for the NBA Draft.
On a final note, one of the most underrated aspects of March Madness is the madness among the rabid fan bases. This guy makes his case for the Owls’ fan base…
GIF courtesy of GIFULMINATION