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In the first game, North Carolina State took a giant step toward relevance in college basketball.
The Wolfpack won national championships in 1974 with David Thompson and in 1983 when Jim Valvano was the coach, but haven't been among the elite teams in the country for quite a while.
But they believe that's about to change.
"We always talk about how we have such a great history at NC State," said Mark Gottfried, in his first year coaching the Wolfpack. "But it's also time to build some new history."
A lowly 11th seed coming in, they had to survive a furious comeback by the Hoyas (24-9).
C.J. Williams, Scott Wood and C.J. Leslie each had 14 points, and Brown added 12 for the Wolfpack, who overcame an eight-point deficit with a 12-0 run late in the half.
The Hoyas (24-9), riding the shooting of Hollis Thompson, who had 23 points, drew to 63-61 before freshman Otto Porter missed a 15-foot jumper under pressure with 14 seconds left.
Brown, a 74 percent shooter at the line, made two foul shots with 10.6 seconds left for a 65-61 lead. Jason Clark, who finished with 10 points, then went the length of the court for a layup before Brown was fouled again with 4.6 seconds left. He hit the first but missed the second, and the Hoyas raced down court for a potential tying 3.
They got a great look, with Clark, defended by Williams, stopping and getting off a rushed shot.
"We pushed the ball up the court, tried to get a last shot," Clark said, his eyes brimming with tears. "I felt like it had a chance, but it didn't."
Unlike the restrained approach Michigan State took, there was a wild celebration at the end by the Wolfpack.
Three teammates hefted Brown to their shoulders and carried him across the floor, while guard Alex Johnson popped his jersey and yelled to the roaring North Carolina State faithful, "We back baby! We're going to the Sweet 16!"
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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