Coach Jim Larranaga was disappointed in the Hurricanes' effort when they fell behind by double-digits by halftime and trailed by 14 points with about eight minutes left before a late surge cut the final margin down to 78-73.
Getting more urgent performance from an unusual combination in the final minutes, the Hurricanes got their deficit down to four points with less than two minutes left and had the opportunity to cut it down to one point on their next possession.
But forward Kenny Kadji and guard Shane Larkin missed consecutive three-pointers, and the Wolfpack wiggled off the hook and stretched its advantage back to 10 points before the Hurricanes got five quick points at the end.
The lineup that rallied the Hurricanes featured only two starters -- Trey McKinney-Jones and Kadji -- along with reserves Larkin and Rion Brown in the backcourt and DeQuan Jones up front at the start of the comeback.
Starter Durand Scott joined the group after about a minute but later fouled out.
Left on the bench for nearly half of the second half were senior G Malcolm Grant and junior C Reggie Johnson.
With just a little over 48 hours between the loss to the Wolfpack and Miami's next game at Georgia Tech, the Hurricanes had little time for major adjustments.
With a 1-3 ACC log and 10-7 overall record, they needed at least a split of their next two games -- they are at Boston College after visiting the Yellow Jackets -- to avoid falling into an even deeper hole in the conference race.
"We will explore several options," Larranaga said when asked if lineup changes might be included in those adjustments. "I will discuss it with my staff."
The Hurricanes left for Atlanta right after the Sunday afternoon loss to the Wolfpack, not wanting to risk flight delays that could come about because of the weather.
"We've got a lot of work to do," Larranaga said, who took over the program last spring. "I was anticipating what our squad would be like before the staff and I arrived, and I've found we've got a lot more work to do than we originally thought."
--Miami got off to a horrendous start shooting in the loss to North Carolina State, going 7-of-25 from the field (28.0 percent) in the first half. The Hurricanes rallied over the final 20 minutes, going 20-of-36, to finish at 44.3 for the game.
But after going just 1-of-9 on three-pointers in the first half, they were only 1-of-11 in the second half to finish 2-of-20.
"I think that comes from being passive," coach Jim Larranaga said. "Aggressive works. Playing hard works."
The Hurricanes were shooting 37.8 percent from behind the arc going into the game.
--Freshman G Shane Larkin came up with three steals against the Wolfpack to give him 12 in the last three games. He had nine points, including one of Miami's two three-pointers, and added five assists, matching his season high.
Two of his assists came on passes to F Kenny Kadji that resulted in dunks during Miami's comeback bid.
--Kadji posted his fourth double-double in his last seven games with his team-high points 20 points and 11 rebounds against N.C. State. He has averaged 18.8 points and 7.2 rebounds over the last five games.
Kadji recently was reclassified as a junior after being listed as a sophomore on the early season roster. He began his career at Florida during the 2008-09 season and was injured in 2009-10. He sat out 2010-11 after transferring to Miami.
BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- Miami had one assist in the first half against N.C. State. The Hurricanes finished with 10 for the game.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Most of our issues are mental. Most of them are about being mentally tough and when the opponent challenges you to rise up to that challenge as a competitor does and not avoid the competition and think that you can get away with less than 100 percent effort." -- Coach Jim Larranaga, who was highly disappointed in his team's play in the loss to North Carolina State.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
--at Georgia Tech, Jan. 24
KEY MATCHUPS: Glen Rice Jr. has led the Yellow Jackets in scoring (13.3 points a game) and veteran G Mfon Udofia also has averaged in double figures. Rice had 28 points in the first of the two meetings for the team last season but was scoreless in the rematch in Atlanta.
--at Boston College, Jan. 29
KEY MATCHUPS: Miami beat the Eagles in both meetings last season, but BC has pretty much a new team. Five of the top six scorers, including the top two (7-0 C Dennis Clifford and F Ryan Anderson) are freshmen.
FUTURES MARKET: A lot depends on how radical a change coach Jim Larranaga plans to make after the disappointing loss to North Carolina State at home, but it wouldn't be surprising to see G Shane Larkin move into the starting lineup. He has shown the ability to come through in the clutch after knocking down free throws to clinch the win over Clemson, then hit two more to keep the Hurricanes in the contention against the Wolfpack.
--Senior G Malcolm Grant, who seemed to be getting over the personal issues that had affected him following the death of his brother in late December, went back into his shooting funk against N.C. State. After scoring 16 points in the previous game, he missed all of his seven field-goal attempts but got five points at the free-throw line against the Wolfpack. He played 21 minutes, two more than his season-low of 19 against UNC-Greensboro in his first game back from his brother's funeral.
--Sophomore F Erik Swoope, who had eight starts early in the season, saw his most playing time since C Reggie Johnson returned to the lineup on Dec. 27 when he played six minutes against the Wolfpack. He made one of his two free throws but missed his only attempt from the field.
--Sophomore G Rion Brown scored 10 points against the Wolfpack for his first time in double figures since going for 15 against Appalachian State on Dec. 30.