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Hurricanes will play N.C. State in Saturday’s ACC semis
Miami's Durand Scott (center) is trapped by Boston College's Joe Rahon (right) and Andrew Van Nest (left) in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., on Friday.
Miami's Rion Brown (15) reacts after making a basket against Boston College in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., on Friday.
Maryland's Dez Wells smiles in the final seconds the Terps' 83-74 win over Duke in the ACC Tournament on Friday in Greensboro, N.C.
Maryland's Alex Len (25) shoots over Duke's Mason Plumlee (5) in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., on Friday.
North Carolina's P.J. Hairston scored 21 points as the Tar Heels topped defending champion Florida State in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament on Friday.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Dez Wells slapped the floor - and knocked No. 2 Duke out of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Wells scored a career-high 30 points and Maryland upset the Blue Devils 83-74 on Friday night in the ACC tournament quarterfinals.
Wells was 9 of 13 from the field and 10 of 10 from the free throw line to lead the seventh-seeded Terrapins (22-11).
In delivering the first big shocker of the week in Greensboro, they never trailed, held the league's best team from 3-point range to 4-of-25 shooting from beyond the arc, and bolstered their NCAA tournament credentials with their second straight win over Duke.
Mason Plumlee had 19 points to lead the second-seeded Blue Devils (27-5), whose quest for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament took a jolt.
They had the ball trailing by six points with about 2 minutes left after Seth Curry hit a rare 3-pointer and the Blue Devils got an even rarer defensive stop.
But Tyler Thornton missed 3-pointers on consecutive trips downcourt and Wells and Seth Allen followed with two free throws apiece, with Allen's stretching the lead to 77-67 with 1:44 left.
Duke didn't get closer than five the rest of the way.
Four Maryland players finished with 10 points apiece - Nick Faust, Jake Layman, Nick Allen and Alex Len. The Terrapins outrebounded Duke by 10 and made 23 of 25 free throws.
They also had the most dominant player on the floor in Wells, who surpassed his previous high of 25 points set in December against George Mason.
In the process, he delivered his team's biggest statement during the run that put the Terps well on their way to the win. Immediately after the 7-foot-1 Len buried an unlikely 15-foot jumper, Wells gave the floor a hard slap - a jab at the Blue Devils' we-mean-business trademark on defense.
Rasheed Sulaimon had 16 points and Curry finished with 15 for the Blue Devils, who won the tournament the last three times it was played in Greensboro - in 2006, 2010 and 2011.
But they've lost two straight games in this building, also the site of their one-and-done loss to 15th-seeded Lehigh in their NCAA tournament opener last year. They lost for the first time this season with Ryan Kelly in the lineup; they were 9-4, with an 83-81 loss at Maryland last month, while the power forward was out with a right foot injury.
And their quest to become the fourth program with 2,000 victories will have to wait - this loss leaves them at 1,998.
After missing nine of their first 10 3-pointers, they finally started to warm up in the second half.
Curry - who was scoreless in the first half - converted a four-point play to spark a run that brought the Blue Devils within one. Kelly's three-point play with 13:41 left pulled Duke to 45-44 - the closest it had been since the opening tip.
But Duke had serious trouble stopping the Terps, who scored on 12 of 17 trips downcourt and used an 18-6 run to stretch the lead back out to 13. Pe'Shon Howard's free throw with 5:47 left put Maryland up 65-52.
The teams split the regular-season series, with each winning on its home court. Duke pulled away late to rout the Terrapins by 20 on Jan. 26, before Maryland sprung their previous upset of the then-No. 2 Blue Devils three weeks later in one of Plumlee's worst games of the season.
The third meeting was dominated by the Terrapins, from the tip to the final buzzer.
And Wells was particularly unstoppable. He scored three times over Kelly, dunking on him once and contorting himself for two layups around the fellow Raleigh native, on his way to 16 points in the opening 20 minutes.
North Carolina 83, Florida State 62
GREENSBORO, N.C. — P.J. Hairston scored 21 points to help North Carolina beat Florida State 83-62 on Friday night in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinals.
Hairston hit five 3-pointers before leaving late in the game with a cut on his left hand, while Reggie Bullock added 17 points for the third-seeded Tar Heels (23-9). They took control with a 13-0 run early in the second half, hit 10 3s and also scored 27 points off 18 turnovers to beat the reigning champion Seminoles in a rematch of last season's championship game.
The Tar Heels reached Saturday's semifinals to face seventh-seeded Maryland, which upset second-ranked Duke earlier Friday. UNC has reached the past two finals and is trying for its first title since 2008.
Michael Snaer scored 20 for sixth-seeded Florida State (18-15), which lost all three meetings with the Tar Heels this season with the last two coming by 21 points each.
Hairston, playing in his hometown, hit his first four 3-pointers and finished 7-for-11 from the field, including 5-for-6 from behind the arc. But he suffered a cut to the webbing between two fingers and left a trail of blood droplets as he checked out of the game. Hairston left the bench area in obvious pain with 4:13 left.
Hairston needed stitches for the cut, but the severity of his injury wasn't immediately known after the game.
The Seminoles advanced to the quarterfinals by holding off 11th-seeded Clemson in the first round Thursday night. But they struggled to slow Hairston early and then Bullock after halftime, as the Tar Heels' four-guard lineup returned to the form it displayed in a six-game winning streak before losing to Duke at home last weekend.
Two of Hairston's first-half 3s fueled an 8-0 burst that gave UNC a 10-point lead, then Bullock sparked the 13-0 second-half run that helped the Tar Heels blow the game open.
After FSU closed to within 39-35, Hairston started the run with a 3, while Bullock followed two possessions later with his own 3 over Devon Bookert. Bullock also had a driving layup while drawing a foul for a three-point play, then Hairston closed the run with two free throws to make it 52-35 with 14:15 left.
Florida State never managed to get that deficit back to single digits.
Bullock went 7-for-11 and scored 13 of his points after halftime. James Michael McAdoo added 12 points for UNC despite foul trouble, while Dexter Strickland added 10.
Snaer — the senior with six buzzer-beating winners in the past two seasons — fouled out with 1:40 left and headed to the bench to a standing ovation from his teammates. He finished 8-for-12 from the field and 3-for-5 from behind the arc to go with seven rebounds and five assists.
Miami 69, Boston College 58
GREENSBORO, N.C. - It doesn't matter whether Shane Larkin is passing the ball or taking it from the other team. The Miami point guard always wants to keep his teammates involved.
Larkin scored 15 of his 20 points after halftime to help the ninth-ranked Hurricanes pull away and beat Boston College in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals.
Kenny Kadji added 15 points and Trey McKinney Jones finished with 12 for the top-seeded Hurricanes (25-6), who got a serious scare from eighth-seeded BC (16-17).
Miami let an early 13-point lead disappear, then shot nearly 70 percent in the second half while making all the plays down the stretch to avoid becoming the ACC's first No. 1 seed to lose its tournament opener since 1997.
And the Hurricanes - who have won at least one ACC tournament game in eight of their 10 seasons in the league - have Larkin to thank for their latest escape.
"By adding Shane to that group [of seniors], he adds an element that allows all of them to play better," coach Jim Larannaga said. "He's so good at what he does. A lot of times you'll see [Larkin] in the first half try to get the ball to [his teammates], and then the second half starts, he starts to pick his spots to attack and score or find the open man. We absolutely needed that."
Patrick Heckmann finished with 15 points for the Eagles, and his 3-pointer with 3½ minutes left tied it at 55.
Durand Scott put Miami in front to stay with two free throws with 3:01 left, and Larkin took over a few moments later. He came up with a key steal from Olivier Hanlan, then buried a momentum-shifting 3 off an inbounds pass to make it 60-55 with 1:49 left.
"It wasn't just me who got the steal," Larkin said, adding that Kadji was in on the trap and Rion Brown made a heady play to save the ball. "It was all of us."
After Brown swished a pretty hanging jumper with 57.6 seconds left, and Kadji added a free throw to make it 63-55, BC didn't get closer than five points the rest of the way. McKinney Jones punctuated the victory with a dunk with 17.2 seconds left.
"We just had mental breakdowns" during the final 3 minutes, Hanlan said. "The little things hurt us."
Larkin also keyed the defensive effort on Hanlan, who a day earlier set an ACC tournament record for freshmen with 41 points in the first-round win over Georgia Tech.
Hanlan finished this one with 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting, missing 5 of his final 6 attempts after making 16 consecutive shots over two days. His streak ended when his 3-pointer over Larkin hit off the rim with just under 14 minutes left, and Larkin also forced him into four turnovers.
"It's very difficult to come back from that type of performance and not expect one of the best defensive teams in the country to put you on lockdown," BC coach Steve Donahue said. "I thought he handled it well, and I thought we played off it well."
Ryan Anderson also had 14 points for the Eagles, who had their ACC-best four-game winning streak snapped and were denied their first semifinal appearance since 2007.
They lost twice to Miami during the regular season in vastly differing ways: The Hurricanes romped by 32 points in Coral Gables a few weeks after holding on for a one-point win at BC.
And for a while, this one looked like a repeat of that blowout - at least until BC dug itself out of a double-digit hole for the second straight day.
After rallying from 15 points down to beat the Yellow Jackets in the first round, the Eagles spotted Miami a 21-8 lead before closing the half on a 19-4 run and took their first lead when Anderson's layup with 4 seconds left made it 27-25. That coincided with a brutally cold spell for Miami, which missed 14 of its last 16 shots of the half against a BC team that started pressing the Hurricanes and defending them with a zone.
"We got a little passive," Larranaga said. "We didn't attack the way we wanted to."
BC stretched its lead to 30-25 on Heckmann's 3-pointer 20 seconds into the half. Miami eventually countered with an 11-2 run and took a 48-44 lead on Larkin's deep 3, and things remained tight until Larkin and the Hurricanes finally pulled away.
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