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“They trusted me to make the two shots at the end,” Wyatt said. “Some of the N.C. State guys were talking a little bit, but you’ve just got to block it out.”

Wyatt broke Temple’s single-season free-throw record and finished with the most points by an Owl in the NCAA tournament since 1991.

“We’ve played against really good guards this year,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. “Khalif Wyatt is as good or better than all of them.”

No. 8 NC State (24-11) trailed most of the game, but cut it to 74-72 on Lorenzo Brown’s jumper with 2 seconds left. Wyatt was fouled on the inbounds play and finished it off.

The Wolfpack went to the round of 16 last season and yearned for a deep tournament run in a year dedicated to their most famous finish. Richard Howell had 14 points and 15 rebounds for N.C. State, which couldn’t fully take advantage of its advantage inside.

The Wolfpack are commemorating the 30-year anniversary of their national title under coach Jim Valvano. That’s when Lorenzo Charles grabbed Dereck Whittenburg’s off-target shot and slammed it home at the buzzer for a 54-52 win over Houston, sending Valvano on his joyous ramble around the court.

Wyatt cut off any hopes of a last-second win this time.

“He’s really crafty,” N.C. State’s Scott Brown said. “He was able to draw the foul and get to the line. Anytime you shoot 14 free throws in a game, that’s going to help you. He’s a good player, and that’s what makes them go.”

The Owls were overshadowed on the front line, where N.C. State had the 6-foot-8 Howell, the ACC’s leading rebounder. Temple’s top inside threat, Anthony Lee, was limited in practice this week after getting tested for a concussion following the Atlantic 10 tournament.

Lee was replaced in the starting lineup Friday by 6-foot-9 Jake O’Brien, making his seventh start. O’Brien, who likes to shoot the 3, played the leading role in Temple’s fast start. He finished with 18 points.

Still, the onus was on the 6-foot-4 Wyatt, who averages 19.8 points. Wyatt had three driving baskets — two of them off steals — and O’Brien hit a 3 for a 33-18 lead with 6:38 left in the half.

O’Brien hit yet another 3 with 18 seconds left for a 38-22 lead at halftime. C.J. Leslie and the rest of the Wolfpack walked off the court stunned, the shock showing in their listless stride and blank faces.

Wyatt has a knack for wriggling free in the lane and drawing fouls, but his long-range shot has been off. He missed 12 straight during a loss to Massachusetts during the A-10 tournament and was only 4 of 23 behind the arc in his last three games.

Wyatt still struggled from outside — only 1 of 7 behind the arc — but compensated by driving inside for baskets over taller defenders.

After Wyatt hurt his hand in the second half, N.C. State started its best spurt of the game, getting the ball inside four times for baskets — two each by Howell and Brown — that cut it to 47-39 with 13:08 to go.

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