RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Anthony “Cat” Barber saw the clock winding down in a tie game. He couldn’t get to the rim. And after bumping into a teammate trying to set a screen, there was time enough only to launch a 3-pointer.
Barber buried that shot at the buzzer to help North Carolina State beat High Point 76-73 on Wednesday night, capping a night when he played all 40 minutes in a do-it-all performance.
The junior point guard finished with 26 points, six assists and five rebounds with no turnovers. And the Wolfpack (7-3) needed every bit of that production, too.
“He’s like the iron man,” coach Mark Gottfried said. “He just never gets tired, he just keeps playing and still makes a big play there at the end of the game.”
The Wolfpack had the ball coming out of a timeout with 13.3 seconds left. Barber said the play was designed to go to freshman Maverick Rowan for a 3, but Barber ended up beyond the arc looking for a shot. He bumped into teammate Caleb Martin, then launched the 3 over Adam Weary from in front of the Wolfpack bench.
“It was kind of nerve-wracking because the time was running down and I had to make a play,” he said. “I had the ball so I had to do something.”
Barber fell to the floor as the shot dropped through the net, with teammates immediately mobbing him there.
It was a fitting finish for a game in which neither team led by more than six points after halftime, with the preseason Big South Conference favorite Panthers (8-3) giving N.C. State everything it could handle on its own home court.
High Point had its chance to steal this one. The Panthers called timeout with 19.3 seconds left and a chance at the last shot, but Cody Martin stole Anthony Lindauer’s inbounds pass and was fouled.
Martin left with a left ankle injury, forcing BeeJay Anya to the foul line. Anya, who entered shooting at 34 percent, missed both attempts, but Rowan snagged the rebound to set up Barber’s final shot.