RALEIGH, N.C. -- Miami center Reggie Johnson has been working his way back from a thumb injury that caused him to miss a few weeks.
He announced his return in full Saturday.
Johnson's tip-in with .8 seconds left allowed No. 14 Miami to beat No. 19 North Carolina State 79-78 at PNC Arena, delivering the Hurricanes their fifth Atlantic Coast Conference road victory.
"Getting back in the groove and that makes you confident," Johnson said. "(Winning this game) was big. We were down and we kept believing in each other."
The Wolfpack overcame a six-point hole after squandering a 10-point second-half lead, but they couldn't hold on.
Miami's Durant Scott made one of two free throws with 47 seconds left to close the gap to 78-77. The Wolfpack failed to convert at the other end, leaving Miami with a final possession with 10.9 seconds left.
Shane Larkin drove into the lane and missed a shot, but Johnson directed the ball into the hoop.
"I probably should have dropped down and pressed on Reggie a little bit," N.C. State guard Scott Wood said. "It is what it is."
Scott said, "Everyone looked up to see if he got it in time. Everyone was happy for Big Reg. It worked out best for us."
Rodney Purvis' desperation heave for N.C. State from beyond half-court hit the rim.
N.C. State's C.J. Leslie scored six of his 18 points in a key stretch when the Wolfpack rallied. Freshman reserve guard Tyler Lewis poured in 16 points, Richard Howell added 15 points and Purvis had 13 points for the Wolfpack (16-6, 5-4).
Miami (17-3, 8-0) overcame a 10-point deficit with less than 14 minutes to play, building a 68-62 lead by the seven-minute mark.
"There was no sense in me even trying to give instructions because no one could hear me," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said of the frenzied atmosphere.
Johnson, who finished with 15 points, seems to be working back into form. He made 6 of 10 shots from the field and grabbed a team-best eight rebounds.
"We knew it was only a matter of time before he got back rolling," Gamble said.
Scott finished with 18 points and Julian Gamble added 16 points for the Hurricanes. Larkin and Trey McKinney Jones each had 13.
N.C. State, which is halfway through its ACC schedule, dropped into fifth place. The Wolfpack was the ACC preseason favorite.
N.C. State played without standout junior point guard Lorenzo Brown, who suffered an ankle injury Tuesday night at Virginia. Purvis and Lewis filled in at point guard.
"After this, I think I proved a lot of people wrong," Lewis said.
Lewis doubled his previous career high of six points by early in the second half, helping the Wolfpack to a 54-44 advantage. He had scored only seven points in ACC play this season.
"Basically having us on the ropes, but we have no quit in us," Gamble said.
N.C. State's last points came on two Lewis free throws with 1:12 play, producing a 78-75 lead.
Miami is 5-0 in ACC road games. N.C. State lost for the first time in 13 home games.
The Hurricanes were 1 of 13 on 3-pointers in the first half and 3 of 21 for the game.
NOTES: Brown is the ACC active leader with 494 career assists. He entered the game with 129 more than Miami's Scott, who's second on the list. Brown has a league-best 6.9 assist per game this season and ranks second on the N.C. State team in scoring with 13.2 points per game. ... Redshirt junior center Jordan Vandenberg made his fourth career start and first of the season, taking Leslie's spot in the lineup. ... Miami came into the weekend as the first team since the 1980-81 season other than Duke or North Carolina to build a 7-0 ACC record. Larranaga was an assistant on the coaching staff of the Virginia team that started 7-0 in league play in 1980-81.