Reggie Johnson's tip-in with under one second remaining on the clock helped No. 14 Miami-Florida survive for a 79-78 win on the road versus 19th-ranked North Carolina State Saturday in a battle of Top-25 ACC teams.
Two Tyler Lewis free throws gave the Wolfpack (16-6, 5-4 ACC) a three-point lead with 1:12 remaining. Durand Scott went to the charity stripe twice on Miami's next two possessions and connected on 2-of-4 shots, but the Hurricanes still trailed by one.
After getting the ball back with 10 seconds left, Shane Larkin drove to the hoop and missed a layup, but Johnson was there to save the day for the difference-making tip-in for the Hurricanes (17-3, 8-0), who have won nine straight and won for the first time in seven tries at N.C. State.
C.J. Leslie scored 18 points and pulled down 12 rebounds and Lewis added 16 points and five assists in the loss for the Wolfpack. The team was without starter Lorenzo Brown, who averages an ACC-best 6.9 assists per games, after he sprained his ankle earlier in the week versus Virginia.
"We didn't execute nearly as well as we should have late in the game," N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said, "and we also had some opportunities where we had the ball right around the rim and we just couldn't score it."
Scott and Julian Gamble paced Miami with 18 and 16 points, respectively, while Johnson finished with 15 and eight boards in the victory.
The Hurricanes opened the contest on a 17-8 surge after two free throws from Scott, but the home team kept chipping away, and took its first lead of the half after Leslie's lay-in with nine-plus minutes left made it 23-22.
The Wolfpack outscored the visitors 17-12 to end the half and went into the break up 40-34.
Neither team had much success from behind the arc after 20 minutes of play, as Miami-Florida was 1-of-13 compared to N.C. State's 1-of-6.
N.C. State led by as many as nine in the early stages of the second half before Maimi-Florida fought back to take a 63-62 lead with Scott's fastbreak layup with nine minutes remaining. The Hurricanes extended the edge to 69-64 before Rodney Purvis' trey and Leslie's slam tied things up.
Leslie's two free throws with 2:09 to play capped off a 7-2 flurry which saw the home team take a 76-71 advantage, but the 'Canes scrapped and clawed their way for the victory and returned the favor, outscoring the Wolfpack 8-2 to close the contest.
"We competed really hard today, and we are right there in terms of where we need to be," Gottfried said. "We played really well today against a good team without one of the country's best players. We just have to go back to work and get ready for our next game."
Purvis even had a legitimate looking last-chance heave as the horn sounded, but the 60-foot-plus shot rattled around the rim to make the defeat even more brutal.
N.C. State is 2-4 since beating then-No.1 Duke on Jan. 12 ... Miami-Florida is 8-1 on the road this season ... The Hurricanes shot 49.2 percent from the floor, but connected on just 3-of-21 from 3-point range ... Larkin and Kenny Kadji finished with 13 points apiece in the victory ... The Hurricanes' bench was outscored 34-15, although Miami-Florida scored 22 points off of 12 N.C. State turnovers.