Another tough loss has stung the Miami Hurricanes.
The ACC road woes are still haunting the team as the Canes (12-7, 1-4) fell to NC State, 72-70 Sunday afternoon.
The Canes rallied from their worst ACC deficit of the season, 17 points, and took a 70-69 lead after a layup by sophomore guard Durand Scott, but came up short in the final possessions.
This marks the third straight time at RBC Center that Miami went in and lost on the final possession. The Hurricanes remain winless at the RBC Center.
“Obviously our guys fought hard to take the lead,” coach Frank Haith said. “We didn’t make plays to win the game.”
It has been a heart-wrenching stretch for Miami, as they have lost two straight games by two points. The Canes were coming off a rough home loss against Florida State, 55-53.
Miami is having a difficult time winning on the road. They are 0-3 in the ACC this season, went 0-8 last year and 2-6 in 2008. Overall, the Canes are 2-17 since 2008.
The Canes’ stars have not yet tasted victory on the road. Scott, redshirt junior guard Malcolm Grant and redshirt sophomore forward Reggie Johnson haven’t won an ACC road game in their careers.
On Sunday, they did everything they could late in the game to secure a win. Grant scored 23 points on 9 of 14 shooting and was 5 for 5 from three-point land. Johnson dominated in the paint and had 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Hurricanes.
It came down to execution in the final seconds of the game.
The Hurricanes had possession down 71-70, but Scott was stripped of the ball. That lead to the Wolfpack (12-7, 2-3) scoring one point on a free throw. Haith said it was a dribble, drive play called for Scott on that possession.
Miami got the ball back and Grant drove left down the baseline and tried to get a pass into Johnson, but Johnson was unable to put up a shot, and the clock ran out.
The Canes wouldn’t have been in the game if they didn’t get things going in the second half. Miami got hot down the stretch, scoring on 12 consecutive possessions and had a 32-14 run which gave them the lead in the final seconds.
“It shows our guys’ character to come back,” said Haith, whose team was down seven points and was shooting 30 percent from the floor at halftime. “We missed a lot of chippies earlier in the game. We can’t wait to get down 14 to play. We got to play hard every possession.”
To Haith’s amazement, the Hurricanes only got to the free-throw line five times against NC State, all in the first half.
The road is going to get tougher for the Hurricanes as they are currently 11th in the ACC and their next opponent is North Carolina (13-5, 3-1) Wednesday night. Three of Miami’s next four games are at home.
“We got to keep fighting,” Haith said. “It’s still early. We got to continue to fight.”
Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.