The University of Miami settled for outside shots, couldn’t keep North Carolina State off the boards and kept committing fouls to put the Wolfpack on the line.
It added up to what coach Jim Larrañaga called “just a very bad day at the office.”
The 15th-ranked Hurricanes trailed most of the way in Saturday’s 85-69 loss, including the entire second half against a team that had won just once since the start of 2016. The Hurricanes didn’t match the energy, even desperation, of an N.C. State team aiming to respond after its coach publicly criticized the team after a midweek loss.
“They were able to do what they wanted to do,” Larrañaga said, “and we didn’t show much resistance.”
The rebounding was particularly glaring. Three days after being beaten 43-35 on the boards by Georgia Tech, the Wolfpack had a 41-23 rebounding edge against the Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes, who host No. 25 Notre Dame on Wednesday, also launched 26 three-point tries on 58 shots, failing to attack the paint and get to the foul line as they have in many of their wins. Miami came in ranked 13th nationally by making nearly 76 percent of its free throws but shot none in the first half before making 15 of 16 after halftime.
“Our game plan was to come in and attack and get fouled because … Georgia Tech spent a lot of time at the free-throw line,” Miami big man Tonye Jekiri said. “But we came out and settled. We didn’t have enough guys crashing the offensive boards for second shots. That was the offense we had, and it was really bad.”
The Hurricanes had a chance to move into a tie for second in the Atlantic Coast Conference with No. 16 Louisville after the Cardinals’ home loss to No. 11 Virginia earlier Saturday. But Anthony “Cat” Barber scored 30 points while Abdul-Malik Abu added 19 to lead the Wolfpack (12-10, 2-7 ACC), who led the entire second half and shot 51 percent to snap a three-game skid and earn its first home win in 2016.
Sheldon McClellan scored 18 points to lead the Hurricanes (16-4, 5-3), who never managed to dig themselves out of a first-half hole that only grew deeper in the second half.
Miami trailed by 10 midway through the first half and closed to within 64-59 with about 4 1/2 minutes left, but the Wolfpack ran off seven consecutive scoring possessions to stretch the lead back out.
This was what Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried was hoping to see after Wednesday’s Georgia Tech loss, a performance that left the fifth-year coach furious with what he described as a lack of effort in the first half.
The Wolfpack came out with plenty of energy against the Hurricanes, leading most of the first half and controlling the boards to take a 37-32 lead at the break. N.C. State then shot 58 percent after halftime while Miami struggled to find any flow of its own.
Angel Rodriguez had 15 points and six assists, and Davon Reed had 12 points for UM, which made just 2 of 12 three-pointers after halftime.
Caleb Martin added 13 points for N.C. State. Abu was one of four players to grab seven rebounds for the Wolfpack.
It was the Wolfpack’s first home win since beating Northeastern on Dec. 29. Its only previous ACC win had come at Pittsburgh on Jan. 19.
Barber, the ACC’s leading scorer at 22.8 points per game, made 10 of 18 shots and all 10 of his free throws. He also drew three charges in the second half and picked up four fouls on Rodriguez while playing all 40 minutes.