Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

No. 14 Miami Gets Last-Second Tip-In

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

No. 14 Miami Gets Last-Second Tip-In

Article excerpt

Reggie Johnson saw the ball go up, bounce off the backboard and then the rim before heading his way. The big man muscled his way up to tip in a shot that extended No. 14 Miami's surprise run through the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Johnson's left-handed tip with 0.8 seconds left helped the Hurricanes beat No. 19 North Carolina State, 79-78, Saturday at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., capping a back-and-forth second half with a thrilling finish that kept the Hurricanes unbeaten in the league.

Johnson finished with 15 points for the Hurricanes (17-3, 8-0) in his best performance since returning from a broken left thumb four games ago. Durand Scott led Miami with 18 points and Julian Gamble added 16 to help the Hurricanes win their ninth in a row, a run that includes a blowout of then-No. 1 Duke last week.

The Hurricanes, picked to finish fifth in the ACC in preseason, were the ninth team to start 7-0 in ACC play since the 1996-97 season. Now they're off to the best league start since Duke went 10- 0 five years ago, according to STATS LLC.

"No pressure on us," Gamble said. "We're having as much fun as possible. We know teams are going to gun at us and play their absolute best every night."

After a timeout with 10.9 seconds remaining to set up a final play, Shane Larkin missed a shot on the right side. But Johnson tipped the ball up and in over Richard Howell to stun a home crowd that had been as loud as it was for rivalry wins against Duke and North Carolina in the past month.

N.C. State (16-6, 5-4) nearly topped Johnson's tip when freshman Rodney Purvis launched a heave from well beyond halfcourt at the horn, a shot that hit the rim and rattled out to end it.

"I got inside and went up with the left hand and tipped it in," Johnson said. "I had the position. But when I saw their shot go in and out, my heart was in my throat."

C.J. Leslie had 18 points and 12 rebounds despite coming off the bench for an undisclosed disciplinary reason for the Wolfpack, who played without starting point guard Lorenzo Brown due to an ankle injury. Purvis and fellow freshman Tyler Lewis played well in Brown's place but the Wolfpack ultimately watched this one slip away in painfully familiar fashion. …

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