Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wednesday Night ACC Hoops

ZELLER GETTING FOULED (Robert Willett/News & Observer)
#6 NORTH CAROLINA 88, MARYLAND 64 -- AP edited: Tyler Zeller stood at midcourt with his fellow seniors and gave a wave to a roaring crowd after their final home game at North Carolina. It was a chance to say goodbye -- and the moment the sixth-ranked Tar Heels could start thinking about Duke again.

Zeller had 30 points to help North Carolina beat Maryland on Wednesday night, setting up a matchup with the fourth-ranked Blue Devils to determine the ACC regular-season championship.

John Henson added 19 points for the Tar Heels (26-4, 13-2 ACC), who led all game to cap a 17-1 home record.

Zeller went just 5 for 12 from the field but finished with his best scoring performance in an ACC game thanks to the number of times he went to the free throw line. The 7-footer made 20 of 23 attempts, breaking Tyler Hansbrough's Smith Center record for made free throws in a game and finishing one shy of matching the program's and ACC's all-time mark.

North Carolina led by 11 points at halftime and blew the game open with a 16-0 run midway through the second half, pushing the margin to 31.

Nick Faust had a career-high 17 points for the Terrapins (16-13, 6-9), while ACC leading scorer Terrell Stoglin finished with 16 on 4-for-18 shooting.

"I thought Carolina was great, especially Zeller," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "We couldn't guard him. All night he kept drawing fouls on us. He controlled the game at the foul line, I thought, and we didn't have a post guy who really took on the challenge all night with him."

(Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer)
North Carolina has won six straight games since the Blue Devils snapped the Tar Heels' school-record 31-game home winning streak on Feb. 8. That game that ended with freshman Austin Rivers burying a 3-pointer at the buzzer, capping Duke's comeback from 10 down in the final 2 1/2 minutes.

It was also one of the few dark moments for Zeller in a senior season that has made him a strong candidate for ACC player of the year. He missed two free throws in the final minute, accidentally tipped a rebound into the Duke basket and ended up defending Rivers after a switch before the final shot.

Duke and UNC entered the week tied atop the league standings. The Blue Devils won at Wake Forest on Tuesday night to take care of their part, then the Tar Heels did the same 24 hours later. The teams meet Saturday night at  7 p.m. in Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium.

BOSTON COLLEGE 56, GEORGIA TECH 52 -- AP edited:  Matt Humphrey scored 13 points, Ryan Anderson had 10, and Boston College held off Georgia Tech despite nearly blowing a 17-point lead on Wednesday night, beating the Yellow Jackets for just its second win in 12 games.

Boston College (9-20, 4-11 ACC) climbed out of the conference cellar with the win and avoided matching a school-record for losses. The Eagles went 6-21 in 1998-99.

Daniel Miller paced Georgia Tech (10-19, 3-12) with 13 points and Kammeon Holsey had 12. The Yellow Jackets have lost 11 of their past 12.

Georgia Tech, which trailed 51-34 with just more than 11 minutes to play, cut the deficit to 54-52 with 2:21 left and had possession twice late but missed open jumpers. Jason Morris missed and the ball bounced out of bounds after a scramble, giving the Eagles possession with 32.3 seconds left.

LESLIE (Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer)
Lonnie Jackson was fouled with 27 seconds left and hit both ends of a 1-and-1 to move Boston College ahead by four.

As it did for most of the game, Georgia Tech missed a handful of shots in the closing seconds. The Yellow Jackets shot just 38 percent (23 of 61).

N.C. STATE 77, MIAMI 73 -- AP edited: C.J. Leslie had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and North Carolina State withstood a late charge from Miami to beat the Hurricanes on Wednesday night.  
Lorenzo Brown added 16 points and Scott Wood had 15 with five 3-pointers for the Wolfpack (19-11, 8-7 ACC).

They shot 50 percent (28 of 56) and kept Miami winless in Raleigh, while snapping a four-game losing streak and locking up their first .500 finish in league play since they were 10-6 in 2006. That was also the last time the Wolfpack made the NCAA tournament.

Rion Brown scored 15 points and Malcolm Grant added 14 for Miami (17-11, 8-7). Grant's 3-pointer -- with Lorenzo Brown's hand in his face -- tied it at 69 with 1:36 left. Wood countered with a 3 from the wing that restored the Wolfpack's three-point lead with 1:07 left.

WILLIAMS AND FAMILY (Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer)
The Hurricanes twice made it a one-point game after that, the last time coming when Durand Scott's free throw made it 74-73 with 24.4 seconds left. Shane Larkin stole Brown's inbounds pass, but Scott missed a contested jumper in the lane and Richard Howell was fouled with 16.4 seconds left.

After Howell missed both free throws, Leslie chased down the rebound and Brown hit two foul shots with 12.6 seconds left to make it 76-73.

Miami had one last chance to force overtime but Grant's contested 3-pointer with about 5 seconds left bounced off the iron and Leslie hit a free throw with 3.1 seconds left to seal it.

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