RALEIGH — The prevailing theory among N.C. State basketball fans for the past several games was that Scott Wood had to resurface at some point.
Those fans were right.
After missing 31 of his last 38 field-goal attempts, the normally accurate junior forward finally was back on target Wednesday night in the RBC Center against Miami.
Although it still may be too late for the Wolfpack to land an NCAA Tournament bid, Wood's 15 points on five 3-pointers helped key a 77-73 win over Miami - a game that N.C. State absolutely had to take.
At 19-11 overall and 8-7 in the ACC, N.C. State now needs a win at Virginia Tech on Sunday to end the regular season just as much as it needed the one Wednesday.
Even at 20-11 and 9-7 in the league, N.C. State could be in danger entering next week's league tournament in Atlanta. There's a chance the team could need two wins in the tourney to land an at-large bid.
But a puncher's chance is more than N.C. State seemed to have after four straight losses.
Moreover, the Hurricanes (17-11, 8-7) were coming off one of their best wins - 78-62 over Florida State.
Wood, who scored 21 points against Miami in a 78-73 N.C. State win on Jan. 22, had weathered one of the most trying periods of his career.
"Then, he missed a couple early - a couple of open ones," said N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried. "But he's a good shooter. He just needed to make a couple. He shot those at the end with tremendous confidence."
Wood's 3-pointers with 68 seconds left broke a tie at 69 that opened the door just enough.
"We're not dead yet," Gottfried said. "We still have a pulse and we showed some toughness."
Along with C.J. Leslie (21 points, 11 rebounds), Richard Howell (14 points, nine rebounds), Lorenzo Brown (16 points, five rebounds, five assists) and 11 combined points from subs Alex Johnson and DeShawn Painter, Wood did enough to help N.C. State overcome a dreadful senior night for C.J. Williams.
Injured early and out of sync throughout, Williams failed to score.
The Pack was favored by four points, but it wasn't until Wood sank a 3 with17:28 left in the first half that the team's energy level seemed to spike.
Wood began February with his best game - 23 points in a win against Wake Forest and 16 against Boston College. But after missing seven of 10 shots at Georgia Tech, he went 4-for-28 in successive losses to Duke, Florida State, North Carolina and Clemson.
But if Wood is back, so too might be the Wolfpack.