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Heartbreak continues to follow Hurricanes

Hard times at home continued for the University of Miami men's basketball team in Saturday afternoon's 56-55 loss to North Carolina State.

The loss left the Hurricanes winless in the six Atlantic Coast Conference games they have played in their BankUnited Center home on their Coral Gables, Fla., campus.

“You would think that the law of averages would come into play here,” coach Jim Larranaga said. “We’ve had so many of these games and opportunities, some against some outstanding teams.

“We’ve put ourselves right on the threshold of victory and keep coming up short.”

In the conference play at home, the Hurricanes, who have split the four road games they have had in league play, have lost twice (Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh) in overtime and seen two teams (Florida State and Syracuse) pull away in the closing minutes to post double-digit wins.

Only against Duke, a 21-point whipping, where the Hurricanes completely out of it early.

Against N.C. State, they were tied at 51 with 1:37 left in the game.

Two missed free throws in the remaining time proved to be their undoing.

With 1:14 left, guard Manu Lecomte missed the first of a two-shot award and hit the second to leave the Hurricanes down 53-52.

After N.C. State went up 55-52 on C.J. Warren’s two free throws with 41.2 seconds left, Lecomte cut it to one point on a layup with 10.3 seconds left following a Wolfpack turnover.

When State’s Ralston Turner could hit only one of two free throws with 9.7 seconds left, Miami had a chance to tie with a two-point basket or take the lead on a 3-pointer.

Lecomte missed a driving layup attempt, but Rafael Akpejiori rebounded for the Hurricanes. Before he could put the ball back in, however, he was fouled with 3.5 seconds remaining.

He made the first throw making it a one-point game, but missed the second, which would have made it 56-56 and sent the game into overtime. That N.C. State’s Kyle Washington, who was fouled after gathering in the rebound, missed two free throws with 1.8 seconds left was academic.

The Hurricanes had only time for Rion Brown to get off a three-quarters court heave that fell way short before time ran out.

“It is disheartening,” Brown said, “but every game we’re right here. It’s little things we need to do to get better and start winning games.”

The Hurricanes are back in action quickly with a Monday night matchup at Tallahassee against Florida State. ESPN will televise the affair starting at 7 p.m. EST.

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