RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Ernest Ross was ready every time the ball came his way in a suddenly bigger-than-usual role for North Carolina State.
The 6-foot-9 second-year forward scored on a go-ahead putback in traffic with 33 seconds left in overtime, part of a career day that helped the Wolfpack hold off No. 16 Miami 83-81 Saturday for a second win against a ranked foe this year.
Ross finished with 17 points and nine rebounds in an unexpected boost. He was averaging 2.2 points and 1.7 rebounds and had never scored more than eight points in a career interrupted last year by injury.
“This is my opportunity, and I used my opportunity well.,” Ross said.
The Wolfpack (14-4, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) needed it after blowing a double-digit lead against Miami for the second time this year. Only this time, Kevin Keatts’ squad regrouped to win.
Terquavion Smith scored 20 points to lead the Wolfpack. Big man DJ Burns added 13 points, nine rebounds and a career-best seven assists as N.C. State ran a chunk of its second-half offense through him in the middle.
The Wolfpack also had stops on the Hurricanes’ last two possessions to clinch this one.
Isaiah Wong had 25 points and six rebounds to lead Miami (14-3, 5-2), while Jordan Miller had 13 and an overtime-forcing 3-pointer over Ross with 28.6 seconds left.
Miami shot 56.9% and erased a 42-32 halftime deficit. The Hurricanes had rallied from 16 down to win 80-73 the first meeting at home on Dec. 10 while committing just six turnovers.
This time, they had 17 — some as simple as Nijel Pack causally walking the ball upcourt for a 10-second backcourt violation — that led to 23 points for the Wolfpack.
“Both teams played very hard and I would say very well for the most part,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “It all comes down to the overtime and we just had too many turnovers for the game.”
Miami: The Hurricanes had gone from unranked to as high as No. 12 in the AP Top 25 along with a 4-0 ACC start, but they’ve lost two of three in the league and fell to 3-2 on the road.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack had won five of six, the past two being a romp against No. 24 Duke and a win at Virginia Tech. This one proved tougher when the Hurricanes rallied, but the Wolfpack still improved to 2-1 against AP Top 25 opponents.
Miami had two chances to tie or take the lead after Ross’ putback. But Bensley Joseph first missed a 3-pointer, with Ross securing the rebound and adding a free throw to push the margin to two.
On the Hurricanes’ final possession, Wong drove into the paint but N.C. State’s Jarkel Joiner came over to help defensively and knocked the ball loose. That sent Wong to the floor to grab it and set off a scrum before a tie-up with 0.2 seconds left gave the ball to the Wolfpack.
Joiner’s long inbounds heave to — fittingly — Ross near midcourt ran out the clock, with Ross immediately raising both arms in victory as the Wolfpack began to celebrate.
The 6-9, 275-pound Burns was a difficult matchup for Miami with his nimble moves in the paint and soft touch. But he also presented a problem with the way he passed out of double teams or crosscourt to find a teammate, including when he found a cutting Ross for a layup and a 71-70 lead with 1:52 left in regulation.
“I don’t even know how to explain it,” Burns said. “I noticed they were double-teaming early so I wanted to draw guys in and see where someone else was open and it happened and it worked out.”
Miami had just five assists on 29 baskets. … Norchad Omier had 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Hurricanes. … N.C. State shot 44% and finished with a 15-4 edge in offensive rebounds, along with a 16-3 edge in second-chance points. … The Wolfpack has led by double figures at halftime of three straight games.
Miami: Hosts Syracuse on Monday.
N.C. State: At Georgia Tech on Tuesday.
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