RALEIGH — Ernest Ross was ready every time the ball came his way in a suddenly bigger-than-usual role for NC State.
The 6-foot-9 second-year forward scored on a go-ahead putback in traffic with 33 seconds left in overtime, part of a career day that helped the Wolfpack hold off No. 16 Miami 83-81 Saturday for a second win against a ranked foe this year.
Ross finished with 17 points and nine rebounds in an unexpected boost. He was averaging 2.2 points and 1.7 rebounds and had never scored more than eight points in a career interrupted last year by injury.
“This is my opportunity, and I used my opportunity well.,” Ross said.
The Wolfpack (14-4, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) needed it after blowing a double-digit lead against Miami for the second time this year. Only this time, Kevin Keatts’ squad regrouped to win.
Terquavion Smith scored 20 points to lead the Wolfpack. Big man DJ Burns added 13 points, nine rebounds and a career-best seven assists as NC State ran a chunk of its second-half offense through him in the middle.
The Wolfpack also had stops on the Hurricanes’ last two possessions to clinch this one.
Isaiah Wong had 25 points and six rebounds to lead Miami (14-3, 5-2), while Jordan Miller had 13 and an overtime-forcing 3-pointer over Ross with 28.6 seconds left.
Miami shot 56.9% and erased a 42-32 halftime deficit. The Hurricanes had rallied from 16 down to win 80-73 the first meeting at home on Dec. 10 while committing just six turnovers.
This time, they had 17 — some as simple as Nijel Pack causally walking the ball upcourt for a 10-second backcourt violation — that led to 23 points for the Wolfpack.
“Both teams played very hard and I would say very well for the most part,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “It all comes down to the overtime and we just had too many turnovers for the game.”
The 6-foot-9, 275-pound Burns was a difficult matchup for Miami with his nimble moves in the paint and soft touch. But he also presented a problem with the way he passed out of double teams or crosscourt to find a teammate, including when he found a cutting Ross for a layup and a 71-70 lead with 1:52 left in regulation.
“I don’t even know how to explain it,” Burns said. “I noticed they were double-teaming early so I wanted to draw guys in and see where someone else was open and it happened and it worked out.”
NC State plays at Georgia Tech on Tuesday.