- Robbi Pickeral, College Basketball
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RALEIGH, N.C. -- "This is our State," proclaims the montage before every NC State home game.
But it’s still Miami’s ACC.
The 14th-ranked Hurricanes came back from a 10-point second-half deficit at PNC Arena on Saturday to top 19th-ranked NC State, winning it on a tip-back by forward Reggie Johnson with 0.8 seconds left.
The victory further solidified Miami’s lead in the ACC standings -- ahead of Duke and Virginia, each with two league losses, and the Wolfpack, who now have four. And it extended the Hurricanes’ winning streak to nine.
Turning point: NC State -- playing without starting point guard and ACC leading assist man Lorenzo Brown -- was leading by eight points midway through the second half when Miami, chock full of juniors and seniors, showed its experience by calmly putting together a 16-2 run to take a 68-62 lead.
But the Wolfpack raced back, putting together a 12-1 run of their own that included five points from freshman Rodney Purvis, four from C.J. Leslie and a 3-pointer from Scott Wood to take a 74-69 advantage before Miami scored again.
Miami wasn’t done, though, stealing the ball on an inbound pass and cutting it to 76-75 on a Durand Scott layup with a little more than a minute left. NC State freshman Tyler Lewis made two layups, and Scott countered by hitting 2 of 4 free throws on Miami’s next two possessions to cut it to 78-77. After Lewis missed on the other end, Larkin missed on a leaner, but Johnson tipped it back in with 0.8 seconds to win it.
Key player(s): Scott finished with 18 points for Miami, and Johnson had 15. NC State’s Lewis, a little-used McDonald's All-American because he was backing up Brown, entered the game averaging only 5.4 minutes and 1 point per game. With Brown watching from the bench, Lewis didn’t start -- but he finished with 16 points and five assists. Leslie had 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Etc.: Johnson’s game winner was, of course, the most replay-worthy moment of the game. But if you haven’t seen this dunk yet, go look it up: With 2:40 left in the first half, NC State's Purvis took off from the 3-point arc, ran through the lane and skied waaaaay above the rim to throw down a Leslie missed jumper. It’s worth a replay. Or three. … Leslie did not start, but he entered the game less than three minutes in; a team spokesman said coach Mark Gottfried would explain the move in his postgame comments.
Next up: Miami faces Boston College at home on Tuesday night; NC State plays at Duke on Thursday night.