N.C. State loses heartbreaker to Miami

Feb. 02, 2013 @ 08:17 PM

Tyler Lewis had a chance to be the hero for N.C. State Saturday, but a stunning finish helped No. 14 Miami earn its first-ever win in Raleigh.

Reggie Johnson tipped in a Shane Larkin missed jumper with 0.8 seconds to preserve the Hurricanes' spotless league record.

A Rodney Purvis prayer from about three quarters court rimmed out at the buzzer as No. 19 N.C. State (16-6, 5-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) lost its first home game of the season.

“That’s a heartbreaker,” said N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried. “The first thing for me is I’m proud of our effort. I thought we played extremely hard and never quit.”

Rodney Purvis forced Larkin into an off-balance shot before Johnson cleaned up the miss. Johnson finished with 15 points and eight rebounds.

“He has the wide body that allows him to take up space,” N.C. State’s C.J. Leslie said of the 6-foot-10, 292 pound Johnson. “He’s very strong down there. It’s hard to get around him.”

Miami (17-3, 8-0 ACC) had five players in double figure scoring, led by Durand Scott’s 18 points.
N.C. State battled from six points down in the final 10 minutes.

Lewis, filling in at point guard for injured Lorenzo Brown, had 16 points and five assists to one turnover.
“Now we’ve learned Tyler can play more,” said Gottfried. “Maybe there’s a positive in there for us. I thought Tyler was very good for us today.”

The Wolfpack planned as if Brown would not play. The junior, averaging 13.2 points per game, suffered a sprained ankle in Tuesday’s loss at Virginia. Brown told Gottfried in pregame warm-ups he was not 100 percent.

Lewis missed a jumper from the left elbow out of an N.C. State timeout with 13 seconds to go, setting up the winning sequence for Miami.

Gottfried said the Wolfpack got the look it wanted on the play.

Lewis scored 11 points in the second half and shot 8-of-9 from the free throw line on the game.

“I just had to take advantage of the opportunity that I had,” said Lewis. “I thought I played pretty well. Some shots started falling for me, hit my free throws.”

“After this I think I proved a lot of people wrong,” added Lewis, who established career highs in six different categories, including minutes played (36).

Gottfried said Lewis did a good job of getting N.C. State into its offense.

“He did a lot of good things for our team,” said Gottfried. “It’s not easy to sit over there like he has. I’ve told him that many times.”

Purvis got the start at point with Lewis subbing in after the first media timeout.

“We all knew he was capable of that,” senior Scott Wood said of Lewis’ play. “Sometimes you get overshadowed with Lorenzo Brown being such a great player. (Tyler) is a great player. He’s going to be able to get some minutes here down the stretch with Lorenzo being hurt. Hopefully he can continue to play well.”

For the second consecutive game, C.J. Leslie did not start. Against Virginia, Leslie was battling illness. On Saturday, Gottfried called it a “coach’s decision” not to start the junior, who tallied 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.