CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Scott Wood put his name in the ACC record book Sunday and lifted N.C. State into a first-place tie in the ACC standings in the process.
After the Wolfpack's 78-73 win against Miami, a group of about two dozen State fans, mostly his family members, waited behind the team bench to congratulate him.
As the group cheered when he ran off the court, Wood tried to bury his chin in his shoulder to shrug off the attention as if to say Ah, that was nothing."
But Wood's game-high 21 points helped the visiting Wolfpack (15-5) improve to 4-1 in the conference, the same first-place record as Duke and Florida State.
And Wood made all seven of his free throws, giving him 58 straight, to eclipse the old record of 54, held by former Duke great J.J. Redick.
"Any time you pass J.J. Redick in the record book, it's awesome," Wood said.
It was Wood's 3-pointer in transition, a shot Redick would appreciate, with 2 minutes, 21 seconds left that iced the win for the Wolfpack. Miami (10-7, 1-3), which had trailed by as many as 16, cut State's lead to five points before Wood's fourth and final 3 of the game.
"We needed that one," said State senior C.J. Williams, who played despite a sore shoulder. "That was a big one. We struggled for a stretch but we were able to get it back together thanks to Scott."
The way N.C. State took control of the game near the end of the first half, it didn't seem like Wood's heroics would be necessary. State forced more Miami turnovers (nine) in the first half than the Hurricanes had made field goals (seven).
Williams hit consecutive 3s to cap an 18-5 run and put the Pack ahead 38-22 at 1:22 in the first half. The Canes spent the rest of the game playing catch-up. With 20 points and 11 rebounds from forward Kenny Kadji and nine points and five assists from guard Shane Larkin - all in the second half - Miami almost got there.
"We got sloppy again," Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said. "I thought we were a little tired and we were in some foul trouble, so defensively we got tentative. Then we were loose with the ball."
Forwards C.J. Leslie, 11 points in 25 minutes, and Richard Howell, seven points in 18 minutes, spent most of the game in foul trouble. Reserve DeShawn Painter picked both up with 18 points, including 11 in the first half when State started the first 10 minutes of the game in a malaise.
Miami got back into the game in the second half with Larkin's defense (three steals) and Kadji's persistence. Kadji's three-point play, after a dunk off of an assist from Larkin, made it 65-60 with 4:26 left.
The teams traded baskets then Larkin's runner at 2:29 made it 69-64. Lorenzo Brown (six assists) broke Miami's press and quickly found Wood alone on the right wing.
"Zo just did a good job in kicking it to me," Wood said. "I was wide open."
It was a similar scenario which led to Wood's record-breaking free-throw attempts. He was fouled on a 3-point attempt by Durand Scott with 5:21 left in the game. After a video review, to confirm it was a 3-point attempt, he stepped to the line and made the first to tie Redick and then the second to pass him.
After the game, Wood was more interested in the Wolfpack's team success than his own. His first two State teams finished 5-11 in the ACC. He likes the view from 4-1, and first place, a lot better.
"We're starting to play well at the right time," Wood said. "Hopefully we can continue to get better."