Keys to the Game: UM vs. N.C. State

POSTED JAN. 21 AT 1:42 P.M.

University of Miami

What went right?

 Miami wanted to establish an inside game from the outset. Forward Raymond Hicks and center Anthony King were productive, keeping Miami within striking distance heading into the second half. Hicks had a strong game overall and played with a lot of intensity.

 Miami overcame another poor first half and were in a position to win the game. Jack McClinton found his touch in the second half and nearly willed the Hurricanes to victory. He scored 24 points after intermission and hit critical shots down the stretch in regulation. Jimmy Graham became a force in the interior and helped spark a 10-0 run to get the Hurricanes back in the game.

What went wrong?

 Coach Frank Haith shuffled the starting lineup, but point guard Lance Hurdle struggled mightily with his shot. Miami trailed by nine points at halftime and allowed the Wolfpack to go on several runs. The Canes’ shot selection was questionable at times and outside shooting was porous in the opening half.

 Miami let the game slip away twice and should have been able to put away the Wolfpack. In regulation, Hicks committed a costly foul that resulted in a three-point play. Miami also did not hold for the last shot in regulation and McClinton forced up a contested shot. In overtime, the Hurricanes blew a four point lead with less than 30 seconds to play. King’s ill-advised inbounds pass that resulted in the final basket is as tough a way to lose.

N.C. State

What went right?

 Gavin Grant may not be a household name, but he is one heck of a clutch player. Grant has now hit three game-winning shots this season. His steal in the closing seconds of overtime won the ballgame. Grant also was able to drive to the basket and get to the free throw line consistently.

 Brandon Costner responded after struggling to begin conference play. Costner had 16 points and showed his range by hitting four three-point shots.

 J.J. Hickson is one of the top freshman players in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Hickson had a key tip-in basket to tie the score in overtime and was active on the glass.

What went wrong?

 The Wolfpack went through a stretch in the second half that allowed Miami back into the game. N.C. State lost the rebounding edge and its interior defense allowed Miami some easy baskets. The Wolfpack had no answer for Jack McClinton in the first 20 minuets.

Big Picture: Miami

 A heartbreaking loss that puts the Hurricanes in a hole early in conference play. Miami does not have any momentum after coming up empty on the road for the second straigtht game. The Hurricanes have the hard task of playing back-to-back games against North Carolina and Clemson.

Big Picture: N.C. State

 This was a pivotal victory for the Wolfpack to avoid a 0-3 start in the ACC. Sidney Lowe’s squad never folded at the end of regulation and overtime when the game was not going their way.

Alex Kushel may be contacted at