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ACC tourney: Terps, 'Pack, Hokies, Canes advance

March 8, 2012

ATLANTA — Terrell Stoglin scored 25 points, including nine straight in a decisive 20-4 run to open the second half, and No. 8 Maryland ran past Wake Forest 82-60 on Thursday in the lopsided opening game of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

Ninth-seeded Wake Forest led 28-27 late in the first half before Stoglin's basket capped a 9-0 run that helped give Maryland a 36-31 lead at halftime. The Terrapins pulled away in the opening minutes of the second half.

Maryland (17-14) will play No. 1 seed North Carolina in Friday's first quarterfinal game. The Tar Heels swept two regular-season games against Maryland.

No. 5 N.C. State 78, No. 12 Boston College 57

ATLANTA — Rather than its usual balanced approach, North Carolina State kept turning to Scott Wood.

He came through in a game the Wolfpack had to have to keep alive their NCAA hopes.

Wood made five 3-pointers and finished with 22 points, leading N.C. State past Boston College 78-57 in the opening round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Thursday.

N.C. State (21-11) raced to a 14-0 lead, turned back several runs by the Eagles (9-22), then pulled away in the closing minutes to remain a contender for the NCAA tournament.

"It's hard to tell. I wish we knew," first-year coach Mark Gottfried said of his postseason hopes. "I know if we win this tournament, we get to go."

Wood swished a couple of huge 3s, turning back any chance of a Boston College comeback. He finished 5-of-9 beyond the arc, sending the Wolfpack into the quarterfinals Friday against Virginia.

Once he made a couple of 3s in the first half, Wood knew he had the hot hand. So he just kept shooting.

"You feel like you can make anything," he said.

N.C. State was the only team in the conference with all five starters averaging in double figures, but the Wolfpack went with a more unbalanced approach to open the tournament. Lorenzo Brown had 12 points, C.J. Leslie added 11 and DeShawn Painter chipped in with 10 off the bench.

Don't expect that to become a trend.

"You can't reinvent your team in March," Gottfried said.

No. 10 Virginia Tech 68, No. 7 Clemson 63

ATLANTA — Virginia Tech point guard Erick Green scored 24 points as the Hokies went on a 9-0 run to take the lead late in the game and hung on to beat Clemson 68-63 on Thursday night in the first round of the ACC tournament.

There were 10 ties, the last at 52-52. Clemson, the No. 7 seed, then went about 3 minutes without scoring as Virginia Tech, the No. 10 seed, took the lead.

The Hokies (16-16), who ended a four-game losing streak, will play No. 2 seed Duke in Friday night's quarterfinals.

Clemson's Milton Jennings hit a 3-pointer with 17 seconds remaining to cut the Hokies' lead to 68-63. After Dorenzo Hudson made two free throws for Virginia Tech, the Tigers couldn't make another 3.

Hudson had 19 points.

Devin Coleman led Clemson with 15 points. Jennings and Andre Young each had 13. Tanner Smith had 12.

Clemson (16-15) hurt its comeback chances with poor free-throw shooting. Bryan Narcisse and Devin Booker each made one of two tries in the final minute.

Green provided the assist on Hudson's 3-pointer that snapped a 52-52 tie. Green's 3-pointer with 3:50 remaining pushed the lead to 58-52.

Following a flagrant one foul against Booker, Cadarian Raines sank a free throw to push the lead to seven points.

Dorian Finney-Smith drove for a lay-up with 2:23 remaining, pushing the lead to 61-52.

Booker ended Clemson's drought with a jam with 2:04 remaining.

Green leads Virginia Tech with his average of 15.3 points per game. He posted his first game with at least 20 points since he had 21 against Florida State on Jan. 10.

The teams added another chapter to their history of close games, including a split of two two-point decisions in the regular season. Since Virginia Tech joined the ACC before the 2004-05 season, 11 of 13 games between the teams has been decided by no more than five points.

There were 11 lead changes in the game.

Virginia Tech senior forward Victor Davila, who missed the last six games of the regular season with a left groin and leg injury, did not play. Davila started 25 games this season, averaging 7.5 points and 4.2 rebounds.

No. 6 Miami 54, No. 11 Georgia Tech 36

ATLANTA — For Georgia Tech, an ugly season ended with one of the most abysmal performances in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

Just don't tell that to Miami.

The Hurricanes considered it a thing of beauty.

Rion Brown sparked Miami from its offensive woes with back-to-back 3-pointers, and the Hurricanes ripped off an 18-0 run to bury the woeful Yellow Jackets 54-36 Thursday night in the final game of the opening round.

Georgia Tech ended a dismal first season under coach Brian Gregory with its lowest-scoring game ever in the tournament. Also, it was easily the worst offensive showing by any team in the tournament during the shot-clock era.

"Oh, you thought it was ugly?" quipped Miami coach Jim Larranaga.

Uhh, yeah.

But it was good enough for the Hurricanes (19-11) to keep alive their NCAA hopes.

"We just talked about relaxing and being ourselves," Larranaga said. "Our defense in the second half created our offense, and it picked up from there."

Miami wasn't exactly an offensive juggernaut, shooting just 33 percent. Shane Larkin was the Hurricanes' top scorer with a mere 12 points, while Durand Scott added 11 and Brown had 10.

But the Yellow Jackets took offensive ineptitude to a whole new level. This was their lowest-scoring game since a 38-36 loss to Auburn on Feb. 7, 1961. It was the third time this season Georgia Tech was held below 40 points at Philips Arena, its temporary home while the campus arena undergoes renovations. Already, there was a 70-38 loss to Virginia and a 56-37 setback against Clemson.

A house of horrors, it was. The Yellow Jackets can't wait to get back home.

Mfon Udofia scored 13 points, Brandon Reed chipped in with 11, but only three of their teammates even made the scoresheet, combining for a not-so-grand total of a dozen points. Georgia Tech made 14 of 44 shots (32 percent) and turned it over 20 times.

Gregory, who took over a once-proud program that fell on hard times under previous coach Paul Hewitt, knew his first team was likely to struggle. He commended a group of players who were clearly short on talent for at least giving all they had.

"We had some flaws, no doubt about it, that we need to work on," Gregory said. "But the effort was not flawed, even when we didn't play well over the last month of the season."

Both teams struggled through the opening half, combining to make 14 of 51 shots and turning it over 15 times. That played into the hands of Georgia Tech, which came in with the ACC's second-worst offense at just 61 points a game. The Yellow Jackets actually went to the locker room with a 20-19 lead, glad to hunker down and make every possession a challenge.

But the Hurricanes finally woke up, going ahead for good when Larkin led a fast break and passed off to Brown, who spotted up for a 3 that made it 29-27. Then Larkin came up with a steal, raced down the court and spotted Brown, lurking again behind the arc. Another trey. Another swish. The Hurricanes never let up from there, making 11 of their last 20 shots.

"We were very good defensively throughout the game," Larranaga said. "In the second half, we were able to get some open-court baskets. Shane Larkin was just terrific in getting a couple of steals and a couple of layups and giving us some momentum."

Miami advanced to face its state rival, No. 17 Florida State, in Friday's quarterfinals. The sixth-seeded Hurricanes are hoping to push their way into NCAA consideration with an impressive showing in Atlanta.

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