Canes Fall in Double Overtime to N.C. State

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - It's the type of game that could either give a team a lot of confidence or can crumble it mentally. Unfortunately for Miami, the ‘Canes did not have enough left in the tank to complete it's incredible comeback dropping a heartbreaker 86-77 in double overtime against No. 15 North Carolina State (19-4, 8-2) in front of 5,179 at the BankUnited Center Wednesday night.

The positives were that Miami never quit. They fought back from a miserable first 30 minutes and played the final ten like their lives depended on it. They turned a 51-36 deficit into a tie game and sent the game into overtime when Guillermo Diaz hit a driving lay up with 9.8 seconds in regulation to complete the comeback.

Then they fell behind by three in the first overtime and came back twice to force a second overtime.

But the runs ran out when N.C. State's Ilian Evtimov drilled a three to open the second overtime stanza. Miami never recovered.

Wolfpack guard Cameron Bennerman who led all scorers with 23 points said that he felt his team's conditioning proved to be the difference.

Miami coach Frank Haith disagreed.

"We passed up on some shots that I thought we had," Haith said. "Guillermo (Diaz) passed up on a couple and Rob (Hite) had one wide open that he passed to Denis (Clemente) in the corner."

The negatives were that Miami played absolutely horribly in the first half committing 12 turnovers that allowed the Wolfpack to take a 36-25 lead into the half.

N.C. State continued its sickening shooting hitting nine threes in the first half compared to only four field goals inside the three-point line. Many of those threes were simply wide open shots because of Miami's help side defense.

"They are a great shooting team," Haith said. "They hit them when they were open. They hit them covered. When you play proper defense, help side, they kick out and hit the shots."

But with all that, Miami, which trailed 51-36 with 11:53 to play, finally showed up. Diaz and Hite led the comeback as they combined for 40 points.

The ‘Canes scored 15 points in the final 2:34 of the game to erase an eight-point deficit.

Hite led Miami with 22 while Diaz scored 18, but the home loss hurts. How the team responds will be the question.

Confidence can certainly be built with that kind of comeback, but there is plenty of pain in the locker room of a team that failed to finish off the comeback.

"We are disappointed," Haith said. "We want to win, but we've got to get ourselves mentally ready to come back."

And they better do it quickly because they have another home game Sunday against North Carolina, a team that is coming off an extremely emotional loss to Duke Tuesday, one that was very similar to way Miami lost to N.C. State. The Tar Heels came back from a huge deficit and too the lead only to let it slip away.

But at 6-4 and tied for third with Boston College in the ACC standings, the ‘Canes remain in the heart of the race. How their finish the season though will determine if an NCAA berth is to come.

The ‘Canes also experimented with a four-guard lineup that included Diaz, Hite, Anthony Harris and freshman Denis Clemente, who finished with 11 points off the bench. That lineup got Miami back in the game.

"N.C. State is a real good defensive team," Haith said. "I thought it would help us to have Denis out there to get things off the bounce."

But once again, how does Miami respond after coming back, only to see it slip right through its fingers.

We'll find out Sunday.

Miami (14-9, 6-4) : Hite 22, Diaz 18, Harris 15, Clemente 11, Hicks 8, King 3.

Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat is the Basketball Staff Writer with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at rudy@canestime.com

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