RALEIGH, N.C. (The Sports Xchange) — North Carolina State has been on the wrong end of emotional swings too often lately, so the outcome Saturday was particularly satisfying.
“I’m extremely proud of our guys, how they bounced back from a not-so-good game Wednesday,” North Carolina State coach Mark Gottfried said. “We’ve had tough losses. We’ve had disappointing losses. We’ve had losses that hurt you.”
Now it has a coveted victory as guard Anthony Barber poured in 30 points as the Wolfpack upset No. 15 Miami 85-69 for a much-needed Atlantic Coast Conference victory at PNC Arena.
The Wolfpack, which had lost its previous four conference home games, held the upper hand throughout the second half to get back on track.
Forward Abdul-Malik Abu scored 19 points and forward Caleb Martin had 13 points for N.C. State (12-10, 2-7 ACC), which won for the only time during a three-game homestand.
Guard Sheldon McClellan’s 18 points and guard Angel Rodriguez’s 15 points paced Miami (16-4, 5-3), which had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Guard Davon Reed chipped in 12 points and guard Ja’Quan Newton had 10 points for the Hurricanes.
In the final 80 seconds, the Wolfpack sank six consecutive free throws to seal the outcome. That meant N.C. State concluded the game by making its last 12 free throws.
“We’ve struggled at times at the line, but we had the right guys there,” Gottfried said. “We finished the game very well.”
Barber, the ACC scoring leader at 22.8 points per game entering the weekend, was too much for Miami to handle. His layup in the final seconds pushed him to the 30-point mark for the fifth time this season
Barber was 10-for-18 from the field (missing both 3-point attempts) and 10-for-10 on foul shots.
Miami hit a late-game rough stretch on offense, allowing the Wolfpack to maintain control. Beginning with slightly more than nine minutes to play, the Hurricanes went a span of almost seven minutes with only one field goal.
“I thought we played them defensively the way we wanted to,” Gottfried said. “We wanted to stop them from getting to the lane. We knew they might hit some shots out there, but we could live with that. We made it hard for them to score. We did some things to not give them easy chances.”
The Hurricanes had assists on 14 of 23 field goals, but they were out of sync for stretches on the offensive end.
“Our philosophy is to be in the attack mode from start to finish,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said, something that wasn’t sustained in this matchup.
The Hurricanes dropped to 1-3 in ACC road games.
Larranaga said the Hurricanes have been trending in the right direction and they’ll have to make sure this detour doesn’t send them off course.
“We have so many more tough games coming up and we have to get ready for them,” Larranaga said.
N.C. State was bolstered by a 41-23 rebounding advantage, only days after Gottfried called out his post players for ineffective rebounding during a loss to Georgia Tech.
The Wolfpack led 37-32 at halftime and then made four of their first five shots of the second half on the way to a 45-36 advantage.
During that stretch Rodriguez picked up his third foul for Miami.
The Hurricanes went to a 3-2 zone that seemed to slow down Barber at times, but then the Wolfpack heated up from the perimeter.
Martin hit back-to-back 3-point shots as the Wolfpack took a 56-46 lead.
Miami made several mini-runs, but N.C. State responded with timely buckets, including Abu’s dunk off a rebound for a 67-59 advantage with 3:38 to play.
NOTES: N.C. State leads the all-time series 12-8. … Miami entered the game having made 344-of-455 free throws. Its opponents had taken only 322 foul shots. … In 15 of 16 victories for Miami this season, the Hurricanes have won by double-digit margins. This was the first double-digit defeat. … Miami was trying to match the 17 wins posted by the Hurricanes for the entire season two years ago. … N.C. State is 8-6 in home games this season. … Miami was the fourth ranked opponent in a five-game stretch for N.C. State, which goes to Florida State on Wednesday night. … Miami is home against Notre Dame on Wednesday night.
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