Raleigh, NC – The NC State men’s basketball team fell Lipscomb 94-93 on Wednesday night inside James T. Valvano Arena at Reynolds Coliseum, concluding its season in the NIT quarterfinals.
Torin Dorn ended his Wolfpack career with a career-best 34 points and grabbed nine rebounds. His scoring performance is the best in program history in the NIT.
The Charlotte native finished the game 15-of-22 from the field and 4-of-5 from the foul line in scoring 34 points. He had four of his nine rebounds on the offensive glass.
Dorn concludes his career 33rd on the NC State all-time scoring list with 1,267 points. His 214 career offensive rebounds rank as the 13th-most in program history.
NC State led 48-39 at the half, but Lipscomb scored on its first five possessions of the second half and eventually took a 57-56 lead on a jumper with 13:47 to play.
Lipscomb stretched the lead to 65-60 with 11:55 to play, but the Pack went on a 5-0 burst to tie the game at 65 with 10:54 to go. From that point forward, the biggest lead for either team was four points.
NC State lead 88-84 with 3:06 to go, but Lipscomb connected on two free throws and then a backdoor bucket by Garrison Mathews squared the game at 88 with 1:10 to go.
Markell Johnson responded on NC State’s next possession from long range to put the Pack up three with 42 seconds to go.
Lipscomb cut the lead to two on a Mathews free throw with 26 seconds remaining and then the Bisons’ Kenny Cooper stepped in front of the in-bounds pass on the Pack’s ensuing possession and made a three-pointer to give Lipscomb a 92-91 lead with 24 seconds to go. Following a timeout, Johnson drove and put the Pack back in front with a lay-up, but Cooper again had a response, hitting a short jumper in the lane with 1.7 seconds remaining for the winning bucket. Regaining the lead and putting the Pack up four thanks to eight straight points in a minute’s time by Johnson, NC State would not give up the advantage until the 1:10 mark in the closing half. Lipscomb’s Mathews led all scorers with 44 points. The 44 points are the second-most ever by an NC State opponent and the most points scored by an NC State opponent in Reynolds Coliseum.
Johnson scored all 19 of his points in the second half. CJ Bryce also reached double figures with 10 points, while Devon Daniels added 10 points off the bench.
The Pack shot 52.8 percent in the game, its highest shooting percentage since shooting 62.5 percent in win over Loyola Maryland on Dec. 28.
NC State concludes the season with a 24-12 record. Of the 11 players on NC State’s roster, only Dorn and Eric Lockett have exhausted their eligibility.
POSTGAME QUOTES – MARCH 28, 2019
NC STATE HEAD COACH KEVIN KEATTS
“First of all, I would love to thank our passionate fan base. When you talk about us making the NIT and playing three electric games in this building, our fan base turned out and was incredible for all three. That says a lot about our fans and how passionate they are.
“Second, I’d like to thank my players. We went 24-12 this season and I don’t think there was a
game out of those 35 games that there wasn’t a maximum effort, win or loss. Sometimes the
ball didn’t go in, and we had highs, and we had lows. We had one game where we scored 24
“Every single time we stepped on the floor, those guys competed for me. We are trying to
establish a great culture, and I think we are moving in the right direction. My coaching staff did a
tremendous job preparing these guys. Their families and parents of these young men have
worked hard to lead me to coaching their kids.
“That being said, what a great game to watch. It was a tremendous offensive game. I felt like
whoever had the ball the last time would have the chance to win it. I thought Markell Johnson
made a great play down the stretch to give us the lead, and their point guard did the same thing.
He had a great steal at the end and then made a play to win the game.
“I am proud of my guys. No one wants their season to end this way, but when I look at our body
of work, I can sleep at night feeling like our program is moving in the right direction. Our guys
have gained valuable experience from this. We are one of 20 teams, between the NCAA and
the NIT, that are still playing basketball up until today. When I got in the locker room, I gave
everybody a hug because I am proud of how hard we competed. If we continue to get better,
then we will learn from this and be able to keep moving the program forward.”
On the impact of Torin Dorn
“He has meant a lot to this program. I have taken a 6’5” guy and asked him to be successful in
the ACC as a big guard and power forward. He has embraced that role and played extremely
hard. He led us in both rebounding and scoring.
“I think the thing that stands out about him is that as good of a basketball player is, he is an
even better person. He is an ambassador for NC State. He believes in the brand of NC State.
He is everything you think about culture when you think about a young man that is already
graduated and is working on another degree. You never have to worry about him off the court.
He does all of the right stuff. He has matured right in front of our eyes. He was a disappointed
young man when I took the job because the year before he had a really good non-conference,
but when conference came around he didn’t have the same opportunities. To see him play his
last game and be aggressive, scoring 34 points in an electric arena, it means a lot to me. When
we all get in this business, we want to know that we are sending young men into the real world
ready. I don’t know if there is another young man in the world that is more ready than Torin
“He is everything. The guy is a great ambassador for NC State. Those guys don’t come along
very often. When you talk about a guy who does everything right, that is Torin Dorn.”
On Cooper taking game-ending shot
“I thought the ball bounced in Cooper’s hand. When he made the corner three, I thought it was
good. It was a tremendous offensive game. It really came down to whoever had the ball last.
Mathews’ game tonight was outstanding. We knew coming in he was a big time scorer. I am
leaving the game saying that he is the best scorer that I played against this year. He raised up
and made shots. He made shots on the break. They are an elite offensive team and I knew that
coming in. They are number eight in the country as far as scoring goes. It was a great game. If
you were a fan, you loved it. It is unfortunate that we had to come in on the short end of this, but
that is the way it goes sometimes.”
On where the program is now
“When I took the job, I promised that we would compete and play hard. I also promised that we
would play a style that our fans would love. If you look at our fans, they have turned out whether
we are playing at PNC or if we are playing in Reynolds. Our guys are fighters. We don’t have
the talent that some of the teams that we are playing against in the ACC have right now, but I
will tell you that everytime we go out on the floor, our guys compete and fight. I think we are
moving in the right direction. I hope the guys continue in the program to get better. We are
looking for guys to return. The guys that are moving on, Torin Dorn and Eric Lockett, I wish
them a lot of success because I think both of those guys will play basketball, but when the ball
stops, they both will be successful in life.”
On Markell Johnson
“One of the things I wanted to do tonight was keep the pressure on them and break them down.
I felt like Markell had backed up to half court at the beginning of the second half.
“He has grown so much. I know you guys remember when Markell Johnson came to school.
Anybody can look at him and see that he has taken big strides. He has taken strides on the
basketball court, in the classroom, and on campus. I am harder on my point guard because I
expect those guys to be an extension of me on the court. Anytime there is a breakdown,
whoever is running the point at the time is going to be the guy that is going to get it.
“He has had a tremendous year. I have been on him all year about being consistent, and I
thought he got consistent. He has still got to get better in a lot of areas. I love his play. He led
our team and made big shots for us when we needed to. Our team started to rely on him at the
end of the year to make those shots and for the most part, he did.”
On his confidence in his returning players
“I hope that everyone will return. Now, obviously you guys read, and know there’s over
400 guys in the transfer pool, so you never know. What we usually do– I’ll take a couple
of days and I’ll let everyone’s mind get clear, and let the guys catch up on some
academic stuff, and then I typically have a meeting with each individual guy and kind of
figure out where they are mentally. From my standpoint, I would love for everyone to
stay and to help continue to build a program. We’ve got a tremendous freshman that’s
sitting out, in Manny Bates, and I think if we can add him to the mix, along with some of
the guys that we have coming in that we’re going to sign, and guys that we will recruit, I
think we can keep moving the program in the right direction.”
On the next step for the program
“I know everyone talks about the NCAA Tournament, and that’s our goal too. From our
perspective, we thought we did pretty much enough to get there. Unfortunately, it didn’t
happen, but I want to continue this program, and keep moving up with it. I’m blessed I
think, and if i’m not mistaken, we’ve won 45 games in two years. As a staff, and with the
guys that are in the program, that’s pretty good. Now we want to continue to build a
program and get guys better. I’ve always come from a background where development
is huge, and so some of the guys, we want to break their game down, and get better in
On Mathews’ 44 pt game
“There was a point in the game where he was scoring, when I wanted to come out
there, and then I realized I’ve had patella tendon surgery and I couldn’t guard him
either. But, listen, he was electric tonight, I know you guys saw it. A majority of the shots
were tough shots, and we wanted him to take tough shots, but he was good. And he
had a great night, and I tip my hat to him.”
On reflecting on this year’s close losses
“I’ll be looking at the entire season. I’ll look at those games we lost at the end, and I’ll be
looking at those games that we won at the end. We had a small margin for error and a
lot of our games came down to the end, and while we will look at that, a lot of times it’s
players making plays. When you look, even in the NIT, Harvard and Hofstra were close
games at the end and I thought we made some plays. So, we’ll be looking at the entire
season. I’m the guy that obviously looks for perfection, and so if there’s an area where I
think we need to improve, then we’ll go to work and we’ll try to get better in that area
and that’s what the good players, the good programs, and the good coaches, they
improve on their weaknesses and get better for the next season.”
On his technical foul
“I know why I got it. I don’t know why the call was made but I absolutely deserved a
technical foul. I was very upset and I thought it was a bad cal,l and that’s a
disagreement, so I definitely know why I got it. “
On playing in Reynolds
“I know it’s been a big conversation about Reynolds, and obviously y’all know how much
I love Reynolds, and it’s a great place. That being said, we’re probably one of the few
teams in the country that has two great places to play. PNC is an unbelievable arena. It
holds 19,000 ,and we sell that place when we recruit. We sell it as a part of our
incredible fanbase. From what I’ve been told we have about 10,000 season ticket
holders. You can’t fit 10,000 people in here, so it’s got to be a great balance. That being
said, there may be more than one game in this building if we can figure out how to do it.
I don’t want to put anybody in a bad spot because it would be unfair for me to say, ‘I
want to play six games in here,’ when I don’t know the whole history. I do know that we
have a certain number of games that we have to play in PNC, which is 15, and I do
know that we have a season-ticket base of 10,000 season tickets. I know we have to
allow our student body a certain number of tickets, so if we could figure that out and
keep everybody happy, then I’d certainly love to play a couple more games.”
On what he’ll remember
“Honestly, I will just remember the electric environment that it was tonight. I just tried to play
every play in the moment, take it in, and enjoy it because win or lose, that would be my last
game at State in front of our home fans so you know, I’ll probably just remember that.”
On seeing Cooper on the last steal play
“Yeah, he kind of just broke in front of the pass and got there.”
On the outcome based on his performance
“Yeah it’s definitely tough. Any loss is tough for me because I love to win. I try to give it all for my
teammates, and the fact that we couldn’t win– I was more upset for them and being hard on
myself because I feel like I could have made a couple plays down the stretch, and it would have
been a little different, but that’s life. Sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way and it’s about
how you react to it and how you come back from it.”
On remembering intensity in Reynolds tonight
“Yeah, that was probably the most intense and most electric game I’ve ever played at Reynolds.
It was amazing, probably one of the most fun games I’ve had at State.”
On what he’ll remember about the program
“My teammates, all the teammates that I’ve had over the years, and all the great times that
we’ve had; all my great coaches that have been able to impart some wisdom on me; all the fans
that come out and support us everyday. Every game is amazing, and I try to take it in every
game. I’ll just remember all of that, everybody that had a part in it. NC State is a beautiful place
and it’s a place where a lot of people love to get behind a team that works hard. We’ve seen
that and that energy has just been able to carry on, so I’ll remember that.”
On his impact off the court
“I would just say basketball is kind of like life. It’s a rollercoaster and you can never get too high
or too low, so everything I learned on the court and off the court, I’ll be able to take into being a
father or a husband one day. Being able to stay even-keel, and trying to inspire other people to
be able to chase their dreams because NC State has allowed me a chance to chase mine.
Everyday since I was 11 years old, I prayed at night to be able to play in the ACC, and NC State
gave me the chance to do that. I can’t be more happy and can’t be more blessed for the
On his favorite Coach Keatts memory
Keats: “Be careful what you say”
Dorn: “Honestly it’s hard to pick one. It’s really hard to pick one memory, that’s like picking your
favorite song, there’s too many to choose from. I would just say the energy that he brought to
NC State is my favorite memory. Being here for so long I was able to see the change in energy
and it carried on through the program, and through the fan base. That’s my favorite memory of
On who shoots better
Dorn: “Who shoots better, me or coach? Me of course. Last time we played the shooting game
ask him who won.
Keats: “You guys done with him?”
Dorn: “You thought I was going to say he shot better than me?”
Alexander: “It was an awesome win for our program, I’ll tell you that. I’m completely proud of
guys that hung in there, guys that got us off to great starts, and guys that finished it up for us. I
don’t know what PNC Arena is like on a day-to-day basis, but that was pretty awesome. That
last four or five minutes with the noise, what we had to play through, and coming from behind–
these guys made plays. We’re a good team. We’ve won big road games already. We have a lot
of experience and every time they came over to the huddle they thought they were going to win.
There’s not much a coach can say or do about that; that’s these guys believing in what they’re
doing and performing when their number is called and getting the result that we wanted. I’m
On what getting to the NIT semifinals means to the program
Alexander: “It’s hard to put into words right now. Just the exposure and that we have five
seniors who get to keep playing– we get to keep showing people what our team and our
program are made of. It’s really a privilege to represent Lipscomb to the world right now, or to
anybody who’s paying attention to college basketball. That’s the short-term benefit and I hope
there are some residuals.”
On what Mathews liked about Reynolds
Mathews: “My teammates were giving me great passes and great screens that were helping
me get open a little bit. I can’t thank them enough for that. I haven’t been shooting very well for
the past few games so it was just nice to get off to a little bit of a start and it just kept going. I
was fortunate for that.”
On if Mathews researched Reynolds before the game
Mathews: “Not really. I was just amazed on how loud it was in here and how crazy everybody
was. It was an incredible environment. It was one I’ll never forget for sure.”
On Mathews’s engagement with the crowd
Mathews: “It’s probably something I need to tone down a little bit. I was just kind of excited a
little bit and it kind of keeps it a little bit more fun. They did a great job of being on their side and
heckling us. It was all in fun.”
On if Mathews has previously 44 points in a game
Mathews: “No sir, I have not.”
On what going to New York means
Mathews: “It’s the best feeling in the world. We knew that was the goal from the start– to make
it to New York, but we were just trying to come in and get better each and every day, focus on
the process, and thank goodness it’s been in our favor so far. It going to be an exciting feeling.”
On Cooper taking the last two shots
Cooper: “It’s what we work all year for: the big moment. Kudos to Garrison Mathews. He had
two people on him and he had 44 and I was like, ‘He should shoot this ball,’ and the
selflessness of him just to make that extra pass and to get me that shot speaks a lot about him.
Mathews: “Let me say something about him really quickly. He’s been an incredible player for us
all year long and I’m so proud of him, and we all trusted him to take those shots. The thing I’m
most proud of is how great of a teammate he is and what an incredible person he is. Everybody
should mirror him on a team like that– the way he is towards other people. I think that’s the
thing I’m most proud of. I wouldn’t be anywhere without him and I think all of our other
teammates feel the same. I appreciate him and am so proud of him.”
On what the win will mean back home
Cooper: “It’s going to mean everything. After losing our conference final we knew we had more
basketball to play and even after that I was still excited to play with these guys some more and
play with Mathews and all of our seniors. It’s just great that we get to keep this rolling and play
some more good basketball in Madison Square Garden. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience
that most basketball players don’t get to experience. It’s going to be really cool.”
On the last play
Cooper: “Coach just said that if there’s time left, just take it.”
Alexander: “We knew we weren’t calling a timeout either way. Our guys know what we do
depending on how much time is left on the clock. They know whether we’re going to throw it in
and race it down the floor or whether we’re going to throw it long, and so they executed that part
right. It’s very easy to panic in the situation and have the wrong guy throw it in all of a sudden,
maybe even to the wrong person, but they did exactly what they were supposed to do. We didn’t
get a great shot, but he made a great shot. We got a good one. It was good enough. It was a
15-footer by a guy who had just made a big one right before that. It was good.”
On what it means to have a big game to reach the semifinals
Mathews: “It’s a great feeling. Like I said, the past few games I’ve been struggling to shoot. Rob
Marberry has picked us up big time. He’s played great for us. I was just fortunate to knock a few
down and am looking forward to going to New York.”
On what changed tonight
Mathews: “Honestly, I was a little worried during shootaround. I was a little frustrated. I couldn’t
Alexander: “He cries every time he misses one.”
Mathews: “I do get a little frustrated.”
Alexander: “Thank goodness he got off to a good start.”