RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- TJ Worley scooped up a loose ball and shot little-known New Orleans into the national spotlight.
Worley banked in a 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds left and the Privateers became the latest mid-major to spring an upset when they beat North Carolina State (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP) 65-63 on Sunday night.
"Our guys have been through so much -- our seniors have endured hurricanes, three coaching changes," first-year coach Joe Pasternack said. "To come in here and give them a win like this, to me that's everything special."
There were three lead changes during a wild final 15 seconds, and New Orleans erased a late seven-point deficit by scoring eight straight points in the final 1:48, taking a 62-61 lead with 14.9 seconds left on two free throws by Bo McCalebb.
Gavin Grant hit a layup over Jaroslav Tyrna to put NC State up 63-62 with 8.3 seconds left, and the Privateers frantically inbounded it to McCalebb, who lost control of the ball. Worley picked it up and heaved a 3-pointer over three defenders from about 25 feet that kissed off the glass.
"Bo lost the ball, I thought he was fouled and I was able to pick it up, and I shot it as quickly as possible," Worley said. "Thank God it went in."
"I want to see if we grow, if we take this experience tonight and use it and understand that feeling," NC State coach Sidney Lowe said. "I told them, 'I hope you really hurt right now, because you never want to have that feeling again.'"
McCalebb, the Sun Belt player of the year, scored 20 points on 5-for-19 shooting in his reunion game with former coach Monte Towe, a former NC State point guard who coached New Orleans from 2002-06 and recruited many of the Privateers before leaving to join Lowe's staff.
"We were coming here like old times, talked to him, see what's going on," McCalebb said. "But we still came in to play basketball. Once the game started, it was all about business."
Kyndall Dykes scored 13 points, Tyrna had 12 and Worley finished with 10 for New Orleans (2-0), which got its first big victory for Pasternack, a 30-year-old New Orleans native.
"All the adversity through [Hurricane] Katrina ... these players that have been here, they deserve it," said Worley, a Delaware State transfer who's no stranger to Tobacco Road -- in the first round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament in Charlotte, he scored 13 points against Duke.
Hickson had 22 points and 13 rebounds, and Grant finished with 20 points for NC State (1-1), which is likely to drop from the national rankings.
"This is not about individuals. It's about NC State," Lowe said. "It's about going out and playing for the school, and not for yourselves. I thought at times we were a little selfish. ... You can't worry about the minutes. We have the personnel. We should use it so we can be fresh, and whatever it is, you play them. You can't be concerned about shots."
New Orleans, playing its first nationally ranked opponent since 2003, snapped its six-game losing streak against ranked teams by beating one for the first time since upending then-No. 21 George Washington 63-60 in 1993. The Privateers also beat an Atlantic Coast Conference team for the first time since upsetting Virginia in 1991.
Not once intimidated by their ACC surroundings, the Privateers held the Wolfpack scoreless on 0-for-6 shooting for a 7-minute stretch in the first half, reeled off 12 straight points and twice led by four.
They overcame an 11-point deficit in the second half by outscoring the Wolfpack 14-2 and taking a 44-43 lead with 9:34 to play on Shaun Reynolds' shot in the lane.
"Our guys really believed before the game they could win this game, and I believe that is half the battle, coming into a game like this," Pasternack said. "They came in here and they fought for 40 minutes, and that's all we can ask as coaches -- that they do that -- and they did that tonight."