March Madness: No. 11 NC State ends Oakland's Cinderella run in OT thriller to extend its own into Sweet 16

Somebody's Cinderella run had to end early.

On Saturday, it was Oakland's. The 14th-seeded Golden Grizzlies put up a fight, but NC State came out on top, 79-73, in a second-round overtime thriller at the NCAA tournament. With the win, the 11th-seeded Wolfpack become the first double-digit seed this year to advance to the Sweet 16.

The Grizzlies got a big game from Horizon League Player of the Year Taylor Townsend and more clutch shooting from first-round hero Jack Gohlke. But the Wolfpack, anchored by senior center DJ Burns Jr., prevailed in a back-and-forth battle that couldn't be settled in regulation.

Oakland battles back, but NCSU prevails

Oakland trailed for nearly the entire game until Townsend secured the first Golden Grizzlies lead with an and-1 layup with 2:49 remaining in regulation. The two teams then traded blows until the game went to overtime tied at 66. There, the Wolfpack took over.

NC State didn't allow a field goal until 14 seconds remained in the extra session. It took a 75-70 lead on a Jayden Taylor 3-pointer with 1:20 remaining in the midst of a 9-0 run. When NC State extended its lead to 77-70 on a pair of Burns free throws, the game was all but over.

The win was the seventh in 12 days for NC State, which needed a five-game sweep to the ACC tournament championship last week just to qualify for the NCAA field. Now, it's one of the last 16 teams standing.

DJ Burns does it all

Burns, as he's done throughout this remarkable Wolfpack run, powered NC State. He owned the post on a 9-of-12 effort from the field while tallying 24 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. He repeatedly leveraged his 6-foot-9, 275-pound frame and soft touch against a Golden Grizzlies front line that had no answers. When he met double teams down low, he found open shooters on the perimeter.

His biggest assist of the game arrived on the Taylor dagger in overtime. Burns was met with a triple-team in the high post on an entry pass. Instead of fighting through it, he looked to Taylor, who was wide open in the corner. Taylor took the pass and hit the rhythm 3-pointer give the Wolfpack a two-possession lead.

Burns wasn't NC State's only hero of the day. In total, six Wolfpack players scored in double digits. Taylor tallied 22 off the bench alongside three rebounds and two assists.

Townsend, Gohlke heroics not enough for Oakland

NC State needed every bit of those heroics to come away with the win. Townsend lived up to his Player of the Year status, while Gohlke set a new NCAA tournament record.

Townsend finished with a game-high 30 points and 13 rebounds while repeatedly keeping the Grizzlies close. The Wolfpack hit several big shots down the stretch of the second half, only to see Townsend answer on the other end.

When it wasn't Townsend, it was Gohlke. The sixth-man sharpshooter had another big day from long distance, hitting 6 of 17 attempts while tallying 22 points and eight rebounds. This was on top of his 10 3-pointers against Kentucky on Thursday that stunned the third-seeded Wildcats and sent them to another early NCAA tournament exit. Gohlke's combined 16 3-pointers set a new record for the most by a player in his first two NCAA tournament games.

But in the end, their heroics weren't enough. It was NC State's day. And now the Wolfpack continue to dance into their first Sweet 16 since 2015. There, they'll face the winner of No. 10 Colorado and No. 2 Marquette.