PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) - Juwan McCloud hit the go-ahead driving layup with 1:08 left to help Northern Iowa hold off North Carolina State 64-60 on Thursday in the Battle 4 Atlantis semifinals.
Isaiah Brown added two clinching free throws with 3.1 seconds left for the Panthers (5-1). Northern Iowa trailed by seven midway through the second half. The cold-shooting Wolfpack (5-1) were coming off an upset victory over No. 2 Arizona on Wednesday night.
Finally McCloud beat Braxton Beverly off the dribble for the 60-58 lead. Then, after two missed shots by the Wolfpack's Allerik Freeman, Klint Carlson drove by Abdul-Malik Abu with 13.7 seconds left to make it a two-possession game.
Omer Yurtseven scored on a stickback to close the gap to two before Brown's free throws sealed it.
Tywhon Pickford had 18 points and 18 rebounds to lead the Panthers. Yurtseven had 17 points and 13 rebounds to lead N.C. State.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack played fearless basketball in the Arizona win, going right at the Wildcats with their pressure defense and coming up with a big late run for the upset. Things were much tougher in this one, with the Wolfpack struggling to get the tempo up and ultimately coming up empty on too many possessions down the stretch. It's a reminder that things aren't going to come easily under first-year coach Kevin Keatts, Wednesday's win aside.
Northern Iowa: The Panthers won their opener against SMU primarily on the strength of a 21-2 first-half run before holding on for a 61-58 win. This time they hung close and held the Wolfpack to 31 percent shooting after halftime while limiting their turnovers (11) against N.C. State's pressure.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack will face Tennessee on Friday in the third-place game.
Northern Iowa: The Panthers will face No. 5 Villanova on Friday in the championship game.
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