Junior guard Markell Johnson scored 26 points as second-seeded North Carolina State held off seventh-seeded Hofstra 84-78 in the first round of the NIT on Tuesday night in Raleigh, N.C.
The Wolfpack (23-11) felt snubbed the NCAA Tournament committee but found enough offense to advance.
Torin Dorn's 19 points and CJ Bryce's 18 points and 11 rebounds also helped NC State, which is in the NIT for the first time since 2010.
Justin Wright-Foreman poured in 29 points in his final game for Hofstra (27-8), which posted a school-record win total and won the Colonial Athletic Association regular season.
NC State advances to meet the winner of the Wednesday game between sixth-seeded Harvard and third-seeded Georgetown.
Jacquil Taylor added 14 points and Desure Buie had 13 points for Hofstra, which shot 7-for-26 on 3-point attempts. Jalen Ray had 10 points.
Hofstra was within 78-76 after a Wright-Foreman 3-pointer with 2:24 to go and closed within 80-78 on Taylor's basket at the 41-second mark.
Amid that stretch, Johnson scored NC State's final six points to close out the victory.
Johnson scored the first five points of the second half, but the Wolfpack needed a 9-0 run for a 60-51 lead.
Wright-Foreman, who entered the game as the nation's second-leading scorer at 27 points per game, had 17 points by halftime as the Pride held a 42-39 edge. Ray had eight points off the bench.
Hofstra had 10 assists on its 13 first-half baskets, moving into good scoring positions several times.
In 12 seasons when they have played in the NIT, the Wolfpack have won their opener 10 times.
NC State has won all three all-time meetings against Hofstra.
The game was played at NC State's on-campus facility, Reynolds Coliseum, because PNC Arena, which is the normal home court for the Wolfpack, was in use for a Carolina Hurricanes game. It was the Wolfpack's second game of the season in the arena.
--Field Level Media