What to Know
- Miami went nearly five minutes without a point and missed eight shots in a row.
Thanks to a big finish, the North Carolina State Wolfpack are off to a start that draws comparisons to their first national championship season.
Reserve Markell Johnson scored 20 points and the No. 18 Wolfpack shot 57 percent in the second half to rally past Miami 87-82 in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams Thursday.
The Wolfpack (13-1) won their seventh game in a row and are off to their best start since the 1973-74 team that won the NCAA title.
"We've got to follow their footsteps," Johnson said with a grin. "That's what we're trying to do."
The Hurricanes (8-5) built their biggest lead at 74-64 with 10 minutes left, but the Wolfpack responded by scoring 13 consecutive points, and Devon Daniels' driving layup put them ahead to stay with 6 1/2 minutes to go.
Miami went nearly five minutes without a point and missed eight shots in a row. Both coaches said North Carolina State's superior depth took a toll on the Hurricanes, who rotate seven players and had two of them battling cramps in the second half.
"That's going to be the issue all season," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said.
Miami sophomore Chris Lykes scored a career-high 28 points on only 15 shots. Zach Johnson added 21 points.
Meanwhile, Brian Beard Jr. and Trejon Jacob combined to make 11 3-pointers and score 48 points and Florida International pulled away in the second half for an 83-76 victory over Middle Tennessee in a Conference USA opener on Thursday night.
Beard sank 5 of 13 from long range, scored 28 and handed out seven assists, while Jacob finished with 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting from distance with seven rebounds. The pair sank 11 of 22 from 3-point range for the Golden Panthers (10-4), while their teammates made just 1 of 10. FIU extended the best start in school history with the win.
Reggie Scurry's layup with 3:54 remaining in the first half gave the Blue Raiders (3-11) a 33-31 lead. Neither team scored the rest of the half. Jayce Johnson scored the first seven points in a 9-0 spurt to open the second half and Middle Tennessee led 42-31.
A dunk by Karl Gamble put the Blue Raiders on top 60-49 with 10:56 left. From there it was all FIU. Antonio Daye's 3-point play began a 15-0 run that was capped by five straight points from Beard and the Golden Panthers stayed in front over the final 8:13.
Antonio Green topped Middle Tennessee with 23 points. Donovan Sims added 17 points and nine rebounds and Johnson finished with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists.
FIU snapped a five-game skid in a series the Blue Raiders lead 30-9.