No. 14 Miami edges No. 19 NC State 79-78
By AARON BEARD
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Reggie Johnson saw the ball go up, bounce off the backboard and then the rim before heading his way. The big man muscled his way up to tip in a shot that extended No. 14 Miami's surprise run through the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Johnson's left-handed tip with 0.8 seconds left helped the Hurricanes beat No. 19 North Carolina State 79-78 on Saturday, capping a back-and-forth second half with a thrilling finish that kept the Hurricanes unbeaten in the league.
Johnson finished with 15 points for the Hurricanes (17-3, 8-0) in his best performance since returning from a broken left thumb four games ago. Durand Scott led Miami with 18 points and Julian Gamble added 16 to help the Hurricanes win their ninth straight game, a run that included a blowout of then-No. 1 Duke last week.
The Hurricanes, picked to finish fifth in the ACC in preseason, were only the ninth team to start 7-0 in ACC play since the 1996-97 season. Now they're off to the best league start since Duke went 10-0 five years ago, according to STATS LLC.
"No pressure on us," Gamble said. "We're having as much fun as possible. We know teams are going to gun at us and play their absolute best every night."
After a timeout with 10.9 seconds remaining to set up a final play, Shane Larkin missed a shot on the right side. But Johnson tipped the ball up and in over Richard Howell to stun a home crowd that had been as loud as it was for rivalry wins against Duke and North Carolina in the past month.
N.C. State (16-6, 5-4) nearly topped Johnson's tip when freshman Rodney Purvis launched a heave from well beyond halfcourt at the horn, a shot that hit the rim and rattled out to end it.
"I got inside and went up with the left hand and tipped it in," Johnson said. "I had the position. But when I saw their shot go in and out, my heart was in my throat."
C.J. Leslie had 18 points and 12 rebounds despite coming off the bench for an undisclosed disciplinary reason for the Wolfpack, who played without starting point guard Lorenzo Brown due to an ankle injury. Purvis and fellow freshman Tyler Lewis played well in Brown's place but the Wolfpack ultimately watched this one slip away in painfully familiar fashion.
N.C. State, the preseason ACC favorite, lost at Maryland 51-50 on a last-second putback on Jan. 16. Its four league losses have come by a combined seven points.
"I think we're getting better all the time," N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. "The frustrating thing is you've got four league losses to show for it."
Lewis, who hadn't scored more than six in a game all season, finished with 16 points and five assists in 36 minutes. But he missed a contested jumper with about 15 seconds left to set up Miami's winning score.
"I wasn't too nervous because I've been playing this game for a long time," Lewis said. "Can't ever be nervous when you're out on the court, so just tried to go out and play my game."
The game lived up to its status as a matchup of ranked league teams, with Miami leading by nine in the first half and N.C. State leading by 10 midway through the second. Behind Johnson and Gamble inside, Miami scored 28 points in the paint after halftime and 50 points for the game to gain a needed edge.
The 6-foot-10, 292-pound Johnson - a home-state native of Winston-Salem - had scored just 11 points in three games since his return, but went 6 for 10 from the field with eight rebounds.
"Once we threw it inside and Reggie got it going, (the players) knew we should keep going to him," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said.
That helped offset a shaky outside shooting day, with Miami missing 18 of 21 3-point tries yet still finishing at 49 percent for the afternoon.
Miami ran off a 16-2 run - much of the damage coming from Johnson and Gamble inside - while holding the Wolfpack to one field goal over a 5-minute span to take a 68-62 lead. The Wolfpack fought back to tie it then take a 74-69 lead on a 3-pointer from Scott Wood with 3:10 left, only to see Miami chip away at the lead until getting Johnson's winner.
It was also Miami's first win in five tries at PNC Arena. The Hurricanes were the only league team that had never won here.
N.C. State lost despite shooting nearly 54 percent for the game.
Updated February 2, 2013
Matt joined the program to discuss his first ever cornhole contest and to break down the Patriots offseason. He told the guys that he was upset that the Pats were unable to bring Wes Welker back to the team.
Tom Brady joined the program to discuss his upcoming charitable event supporting Best Buddies and his off-season. Tom said that he has learned not to worry about free agency decisions since he cant control any of them. Lastly he defended his over the top celebration at the Kentucky Derby.
In the latest edition of the "It Is What It Is" podcast, Chris Price and CSNNE's Mike Giardi take a look at the Patriots offseason on both sides of the ball, try and get a handle on which new guys will make an impact first, and whether or not the Patriots have altered their style when it comes to drafting and developing wide receivers.
Jackie MacMullan joins Mut and Merloni to discuss the latest rumors surrounding Celtics head coach Doc Rivers and whether he'll be back next season with the team.
We check in with Danny Ainge for our first talk to him since the Celtics season ended last weekend. We talk about the future of the team, KG, Pierce, Doc Rivers and more, as Danny directly answers the rumors being floated by ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.
Jackie Mac joins the show to discuss the trade rumors swirling around Paul Pierce, KG, Doc Rivers and the Celtics. She also discusses the future of the Celtics head coach.
Ben joined the program to discuss the return of Terry Francona and said that he always had a good relationship with the former manager. Ben added that he thinks Ellsbury is in a slump due in part to the amount of left handed pitchers the team has faced.
Salty spoke with Joe Castiglione & Dave O'Brien after he helped his team to a 6-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox tonight. The Red Sox return to Fenway after going 6-3 on the road trip.
We check in with Red Sox Manager John Farrell live from Chicago and get his take on a good week for the Sox, a tough series since then in Chicago, and other team related notes.
Barry joined the program to discuss the Bruins disappointing loss last night at MSG. He said that he was impressed with how Rask responded to questions after the game.
Dave Maloney returned to the show to discuss his Rangers unlikely win in game 4. He said that in all his years playing and calling hockey games he had not seen a softer goal than the one Rask allowed.
Andy Brickley joins the show to discuss what he expects to see from the Rangers tonight, why the Bruins match up well against them, and potentially closing out the series tonight
Andy from Dartmouth called in to talk Bruins but the discussion quickly got off track when he mentioned his nine bee hives.
Andy Brickley joins the show to discuss what he expects to see from the Rangers tonight, why the Bruins match up well against them, and potentially closing out the series tonight.
One of the many Mut and Merloni callers, Meg in the Cape, chats with Mike and Lou about the Bruins and a whole bunch of other stuff in the span of about 2 min. Afterwards, Mut and Merloni hear some voice activated text messages from people listening in to Meg.
Tom Brady appeared with D and C this morning and talked about the team's OTA's, the comings and goings, and most importantly what went down when Wes Welker left town, and how does he feel about it?
Four guys, four topics we haven't mentioned today. Mark Sanchez, the Pacers blow it and more.
We talk about the mystique and respect around John Tortorella, and whether or not it's warranted. Plus we discuss with you who the 2013 Bruins MVP has to be. Tuuka? Bergeron? Claude?
The Bruins look to take a 3-0 series lead, Jon Lester gets his first loss, Dwight Howard has options in free agency.
Today on the Daily Planet the Bruins have a 2-0 lead over the New york Rangers, the Red Sox are back on the winning sde of things, and the noteable birthdays of the day.
The Bruins have almost finished raking the Leafs, the Red Sox struggle from the mound, Miami Heat fans show their level of class.
Kirk's still a jerk, but we want a SWEEP!
The Jerks are joined by another, Jerk Minihane.
They're like a ray of morning sunshine on an otherwise gloomy day.
Linda explains how the shootout transpired in Watertown during the early morning hours. She saw the first suspect mortally wounded and police beginning the manhunt for the second suspect.More from this show
Terry Francona joins the Dennis and Callahan Show to discuss his first-place Indians team as well as his time in Boston. The former Boston manager also touches on his recent book co-authored by Dan Shaughnessy and Shaughnessy's recent dust-up with David Ortiz.More from this show