N.C. State had a chance to win the game at Miami on Thursday night in the final few minutes of the second half.
But the Wolfpack actually lost the game in the opening minutes of the second half.
Miami erased N.C. State's 7-point halftime lead in the first 4 minutes of the second half and then held on for 65-60 home ACC win.
N.C. State (13-7, 4-3 ACC) rallied twice in the final 2 minutes to within one point but the Wolfpack was kicking itself for the slow start of the second half.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
"You can't come out in the second half with that kind of casual attitude," N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. "That was frustrating for us."
N.C. State used a 19-5 run to close the first half to take a 33-26 lead into halftime.
Then the Wolfpack relaxed, said freshman forward Abdul-Malik Abu, who led the team with 19 points.
"We had a sense of satisfaction after playing hard in that first half," said Abu, who scored N.C. State's first 12 points.
"We thought we were going to be able to cruise to the win."
There would be no cruise or second straight ACC win. For the past 12 games, N.C. State has alternated wins and losses.
"We were trying to break that," Abu said.
There was still a chance, even after the lackadaisical start to the second half. N.C. State cut what was a nine-point Miami lead in the second half down to 58-57 with 1:37 to play and 61-60 with 21.6 seconds left in the game.
Each time, Miami answered with free throws. The Hurricanes (13-5, 3-2) finished 18 of 21 from the foul line, including a 14-of-17 effort in the second half.
N.C. State senior guard Ralston Turner had two different chances to tie or give N.C. State the lead in the final minute but missed both shots.
It was Turner's 3 with 23 seconds left that cut Miami's lead to 61-60 but Angel Rodriguez (14 points) made two free throws to push Miami's margin back to 63-60.
N.C. State had one last chance with the ball, but sophomore Cat Barber was called for a push-off foul with 5.3 seconds left.
The Wolfpack shot 36.7 percent (11 of 30) in the second half. Turner (nine points) and Trevor Lacey (10), their top two scorers on the season, struggled from the outside. The two guards finished a combined 7 of 25 from the floor.
Miami made 9 of 23 from 3-point range and had four different players make at least two 3s.
Miami got back in the game with a 12-2 run to open the second half. N.C. State's 33-26 lead turned into a 38-35 deficit at 16:04.
"We didn't come out with the energy that we needed to, plain and simple," Turner said of the start of the second half
The Canes took control took control of the game with consecutive 3-pointers by Sheldon McClellan (16 points) and Omar Sherman to take a 47-43 lead. Miami's margin spread to 54-45 after a layup by forward Tonye Jekiri at 3:23.
Five points from Abu and a jumper from Barber, followed by a 3 from Turner got the Wolfpack back into the fight.
"After (the slow start), we played very hard but that right there decided the game," Turner said.
Rodriguez made seven in the final 1:57 which cut the N.C. State comeback short.