Durand Scott scored a career-high 32 points, including five 3-pointers, as the top-seeded Hurricanes held off the Wolfpack in the ACC tournament semifinals at Greensboro, N.C.
Shane Larkin added 23 points, including eight straight free throws late to seal it, as Miami (26-6) advanced to its first ACC championship game against North Carolina today. Scott made 12-of-18 shots before fouling out late and Julian Gamble chipped in with 10 points for the Hurricanes.
Scott Wood led the way with 21 points, including six 3-pointers, for fifth-seeded North Carolina State (24-10). C.J. Leslie added 14 points and T.J. Warren 13 for the Wolfpack, who were 14-of-25 from the free-throw line.
Scott, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, poured in 19 points and Larkin had 11 in the first half as Miami built its lead to as high as 19. North Carolina State, which did not score for the first 5:25, trimmed the deficit to 41-29 at intermission.
The Wolfpack climbed back within 50-44 with 12:05 to go after Wood's 3-pointer capped a 13-4 run. Scott responded with a 3-pointer to start an 8-1 spurt and North Carolina State could not get closer than eight the rest of the way.
Game notes: Scott, who topped his previous career high of 29 points set on March 2, 2010, against North Carolina, played his 128th game to pull within two of tying Brian Asbury's team record. ... Wolfpack F Richard Howell, hampered by a leg injury, contributed eight points and 11 rebounds. ... Miami F Kenny Kadji had eight points and nine rebounds, narrowly missing his fifth straight double-double.
North Carolina 79, Maryland 76
Reggie Bullock recorded 15 points and nine rebounds as the third-seeded Tar Heels held off a late rally from the Terrapins in the semifinals of the ACC tournament at Greensboro, N.C.
Dexter Strickland also had 15 points and Marcus Paige scored five of his eight points late to seal it for North Carolina (24-9), which will play Miami (Fla.) in the championship game today. James Michael McAdoo and P.J. Hairston each chipped in with 13 points for the Tar Heels, who have won eight of their last nine.
Alex Len led the way with 20 points for seventh-seeded Maryland (22-12), which had a chance to tie it late but Logan Aronhalt's long 3-pointer missed with 9 seconds left. Nick Faust added 17 points and Dez Wells had 15 for the Terrapins, who have dropped seven straight to North Carolina including three this season.
Strickland had 11 points as North Carolina built its lead as high as 12 in the first half before settling for a 37-32 edge at intermission. North Carolina pushed the lead to 50-38 after a three-point play by McAdoo with 15:05 remaining.
Wells drained a 3-pointer to highlight a 12-2 run that brought the Terrapins back within three with 8:46 to go, but 3-pointers by Leslie McDonald and Bullock helped re-install a 10-point lead. Len led Maryland back within 71-70 before Paige made a big basket with 2:50 left and the Terrapins could never tie or go ahead.
Game notes: Hairston, playing in his hometown, required eight stitches after suffering a cut in the webbing between the ring and middle fingers of his left hand during the quarterfinal victory over Florida State on Friday. ... Wells also had nine rebounds and four assists for Maryland. ... North Carolina coach Roy Williams has 699 career wins.
Mississippi 64, Vanderbilt 52
Marshall Henderson scored 23 points and the Rebels advanced to the SEC tournament title game for the first time since 2001, pulling away from the pesky Commodores in the second half at Nashville, Tenn.
Mississippi (25-8), the No. 3 seed, will face top-seeded Florida in today's championship game. The Rebels won despite missing 16 free throws and hitting 4-of-19 from 3-point range.
Reginald Buckner had 15 points and nine rebounds for Mississippi. Murphy Holloway added 12 points and eight boards for the Rebels.
Vanderbilt (16-17) took a 26-18 lead with 4:06 to play in the first half on a Sheldon Jeter 3-pointer, but the Commodores didn't score after that as Ole Miss recorded the last eight of the half. Vanderbilt went the first 2:22 of the second half without a point as well, then scored eight straight for a 34-30 lead.
From there it was all Rebels, though, with Mississippi going on a 28-6 run to forge an 18-point advantage with 3:26 to play. Henderson had 10 of the Rebels' points during the run.
Game notes: Kedren Johnson was the only Vanderbilt player to score in double figures with 12. ... A day after scoring the final five points in Ole Miss' two-point win over Missouri, Derrick Millinghaus was scoreless, shooting 0-of-5 from the field -- including 0-of-4 from 3-point range. ... The Commodores hit 6-of-30 from 3-point range.
No. 11 Florida 61, Alabama 51
Kenny Boynton scored all of his 16 points in the second half as the top-seeded Gators took down the Crimson Tide in the semifinals of the SEC tournament at Nashville, Tenn.
Patric Young collected 13 points and nine rebounds and Mike Rosario added 10 points for Florida (26-6), which will face Mississippi in the championship game on Sunday.
Trevor Releford scored 12 points and Trevor Lacey and Nick Jacobs chipped in 11 apiece as Alabama (21-12) fell to the Gators for the second time in the last 14 days. The Crimson Tide could have used a signature win over a ranked team to impress the NCAA Tournament selection committee and will have to sweat out the announcement of the field today.
Alabama took a 28-25 lead into the half and opened the second period with a 9-2 burst to stretch the lead to double digits. The Gators started to find a rhythm at the free-throw line and scored on nine straight possessions as part of a 20-3 run to take control.
Boynton's 3-pointer with 8:14 left gave Florida a 50-42 lead, and the Gators would stretch it to as much as 56-46 when Casey Prather tipped in Erik Murphy's miss with 3:22 to play.
Game notes: Florida beat Mississippi 78-64 in the regular season. The Gators are trying to win their first SEC tournament since 2007. ... Murphy, who recorded career highs in points (27) and rebounds (12) in Friday's quarterfinal win over LSU, was held to six points and five boards. ... Alabama has dropped four of its last seven games.