Saturday, March 10, 2012

Florida State Earns Shot At First ACC Tournament Championship

SNAER (Kevin C. Cox)
#17 FLORIDA STATE 62, #6 DUKE 59 – (AP) Florida State lost a 10-point lead in the second half before recovering to beat Duke on Saturday, sending the Seminoles to only the second ACC tournament championship game in the program's history.

Michael Snaer scored 16 points, including a 3-pointer with 3:27 remaining that gave the Seminoles the lead for good. But No. 17 Florida State (23-9) had to survive some last minute scares - including missed 3-point attempts by Duke's Austin Rivers and Seth Curry in the final six seconds.

The second-seeded Seminoles ended a run of three straight ACC tournament championships for Duke (27-6). Rivers led the Blue Devils with 19 points. Curry had 13.

 The Seminoles' only other appearance in the championship game came in 2009, also in Atlanta, when it lost to Duke.

MILLER (Kevin C. Cox)
Florida State led 58-57 when it lost Ian Miller, who was called for a charge, his fifth foul. Duke's Mason Plumlee also fouled out less than a minute later, and Florida State's Luke Loucks made two free throws to push the lead to three points.

A layup by Rivers cut the lead to one point with 42 seconds remaining.

Loucks then dribbled the shot clock down before sinking a long jumper from the left wing. Following a review of the replay, officials ruled the shot was a 2-pointer, pushing the lead to three points with 11.9 seconds remaining.

Rivers, guarded closely by Snaer, missed a long 3-pointer with six seconds remaining. Following a turnover, a last-second attempt by Curry from just past midcourt banged off the rim, triggering the Seminoles' celebration.

Mistakes helped Duke fall behind early. The Blue Devils, who average only 12 turnovers per game, gave the ball away 14 times in the first 20 minutes, leading to 17 points for Florida State.

Duke cleaned up its play, committing only two turnovers in the second half to finish with 16.
The Seminoles quickly added to their 33-31 halftime lead, scoring the first six points of the second half. Snaer penetrated the lane and lofted a short jumper to push the lead to 10 points for the first time at 43-33.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski called his second timeout of the half and the Blue Devils responded with five straight points.

Suddenly the Seminoles showed signs of faltering.

GIBSON (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
A missed jam by Xavier Gibson, a steal but missed layup by Deividas Dulkys and a shot-clock violation by Dulkys helped Duke pull to within two points at 47-45 following a Miles Plumlee basket.

An officials review confirmed a long jumper by Curry was a 3-pointer, cutting the Seminoles' lead to 51-50. A tip-in by Miles Plumlee of a missed jumper by Curry again cut the lead to one at 53-52 with 5:39 remaining.

The Blue Devils took their first lead of the half less than a minute later on Curry's two free throws.

Pictures Of The Game

Okaro White #10 of the Florida State Seminoles shoots over Mason Plumlee.  (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Michael Snaer #21 of the Florida State Seminoles reacts in the first half.  (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Xavier Gibson #1 of the Florida State Seminoles dunks on Mason Plumlee.  (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
 Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils reacts.  (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Ian Miller #30 of the Florida State Seminoles drives against Miles Plumlee.  (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Austin Rivers #0 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after their 62 to 59 loss to the Florida State.  (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Miles Plumlee #21 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after the ball was called out on the Devils in the second half.  (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Luke Loucks #3 of the Florida State Seminoles shoots over Josh Hairston.  (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Deividas Dulkys #4 and Terry Whisnant #31 of the Florida State Seminoles celebrate their 62 to 59 win over the Duke.  (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
A general view of the game between the Florida State Seminoles and the Duke Blue Devils during the semifinals of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conference Tournament at Philips Arena on March 10, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils talks to his team in the second half against the Florida State Seminoles.  (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Michael Snaer #21 of the Florida State Seminoles calls a time as Tyler Thornton #3 of the Duke Blue Devils defends during the semifinals of the 2012 ACC tournament.  (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Mason Plumlee of Duke goes for a dunk. (Jeff Reeves/WRAL)
Deividas Dulkys of Florida State pushes the ball into the lane. (Jeff Reeves/WRAL)

Luke Loucks of Florida State celebrates defeating Duke during the semi-final round of the ACC Tournament on March 10, 2012. (Jeff Reeves/WRAL)







North Carolina Survives Whistlefest With N.C. State

MARSHALL'S GAME WINNER (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
#4 NORTH CAROLINA 69, N.C. STATE 67 – When 19,250 basketball fans settled into their seats in Phillips Arena in Atlanta for the ACC semifinal between #4 North Carolina and surging N.C. State, they anticipated a variety of plot lines that featured older and younger men with the names Williams, Gottfried, Leslie, Marshall, Howell, Zeller, Painter and Barnes.

That said, as it turned out, the three men who were the center of attention were Ray Natili, Tim Nestor, Brian Dorsey – the officials.

In a rough game that saw 42 personal fouls called, it took a bank shot from Kendall Marshall with 10.2 seconds remaining for the Tar Heels to pull out the victory.  That play also attracted attention to the men in stripes when Alex Johnson, who was defending Marshall, either drew a charge (if you saw the play with red eyes) or committed a blocking foul (if you saw the play with sky blue eyes).

LESLIE (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Then with 1.2 seconds left, and Richard Howell thought he was fouled trying to get off a shot after getting his hand on a long pass.  A review of the replay shows that two Tar Heels, along with Howell, also got a hand on that desperation heave. Howell, cleverly attempted a shot without really having possession of the ball trying to draw a foul.

In spite of what various commentators said post-game, it has been our experience of over 40 years of watching ACC basketball games, that ACC officials rarely (if ever) make a foul call in the final minute of a close game.  Today, was no different, but that didn’t make the first 39 minutes any easier to watch…or understand, for that matter.

North Carolina averages 14.7 fouls per game and N.C. State averages 16.8 per game. In the ACC semifinal, the Tar Heels were whistled 19 times and the Wolfpack 23.

C.J. Leslie, who led the Wolfpack with 22 points, fouled out with more than eight minutes remaining. North Carolina (29-4) lost its top scorer when Tyler Zeller picked up his fifth late in the game after scoring 23 points.  Both teams were in foul trouble for a good portion of the second half.

It appeared that N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried did not know his sophomore star was in foul trouble…

BARNES (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
N.C. State came to Atlanta figuring two wins would be enough to claim its first NCAA bid since 2006. The Wolfpack accomplished that goal, but it will still be a nerve-racking Sunday as they await the announcement of the 68-team field.

Without John Henson who sat out the game due to a sprained wrist suffered against Maryland, North Carolina had trouble stopping N.C. State in the paint for most of the game. 

Lorenzo Brown scored 16 points and nearly bailed out the shorthanded Wolfpack. He split the defense for a rim-hanging dunk, then flew back toward the top of the lane, bounced off Barnes to draw the foul, rolled in a fallaway shot and sank the free throw to complete a three-point play that tied it at 66 with 1:31 to go.

DeShawn Painter and Barnes traded free throws to set up the wild finish.

Marshall, who had 12 points and 10 assists, dribbled near midcourt to let the shot clock wind down, then took off down the left side of the lane with Johnson trying to stay with him. The N.C. State guard planted his feet and thought he drew the charge, going down extra hard for effect. The officials didn’t buy it, and Marshall pulled up for the easy shot with no one in his face.

The Wolfpack took off the other way, and Scott Wood tried to zip a quick pass underneath the basket to Howell. But Justin Watts stepped in to pick off the ball and just flung it high toward the other end of the court, hoping N.C. State wouldn’t catch up with it until the clock ran out. But Johnson got to it and wisely called time with 1.2 seconds left.

ZELLER (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
N.C. State had a chance at a tying shot, flinging a long pass toward Howell with Barnes and Reggie Bullock in his face. Howell got a hand on it and turned to shoot, but the ball was flicked away and the horn sounded.

The Wolfpack went basket-for-basket with the regular-season champs in the first half. The lead changed hands 10 times, there were five ties and the margin was never more than five points either way. North Carolina coach Roy Williams wasn’t happy with his team, breaking his clipboard during a first-half timeout.

Other that, it was pretty routine…

Pictures Of The Game

John Henson #31 of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts after their 69-67 win over the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the semifinals of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conference Tournament at Philips Arena on March 10, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Justin Watts #24 of the North Carolina Tar Heels smiles as Lorenzo Brown #2 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack reacts from a turnover by Alex Johnson #3 in the final seconds. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
UNC head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts in the final seconds against the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the semifinals of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conference Tournament at Philips Arena on March 10, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Justin Watts #24 of the North Carolina Tar Heels shoots against Richard Howell #1 and Scott Wood #15 of  N.C. State.  (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Alex Johnson #3 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack drives against Kendall Marshall. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Tyler Zeller #44 of the North Carolina Tar Heels shoots against C.J. Williams #21 and DeShawn Painter #0. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Lorenzo Brown #2 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack is called for a charge. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

C.J. Leslie #5 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack tries to stop Harrison Barnes. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

C.J. Leslie #5 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack reacts on the bench after fouling out against the North Carolina. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
James Michael McAdoo #43 of the North Carolina Tar Heels drives against Richard Howell #1 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kendall Marshall drives between Alex Johnson #3, DeShawn Painter #0 and Richard Howell.(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Harrison Barnes #40 of the North Carolina Tar Heels shoots against Richard Howell #1 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Head coach Mark Gottfried. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kendall Marshall #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels scores the go-ahead basket in the final seconds against Alex Johnson. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)




Stat Line Of The Day – Yesterday

In a 86-65 win over Kansas State, #1 Baylor’s Brittney Griner scored 45 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and blocked seven shots.  She was 19-28 from the field and 7 for 10 from the charity stripe.

Griner scored 41 points March 3rd against Iowa State.

Florida State Knocks Miami Off and Out

SNAER (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
#17 FLORIDA STATE 82, MIAMI 71 -- The Hurricanes needed a win over a ranked team to have a chance at being invited to the Big Dance.

Playing without leading scorer Durand Scott who was ruled ineligible for one game by the university of receiving impermissible benefits, Miami came up well short. 

Michael Snaer scored 20 points and Ian Miller had 18 to lead Florida State (22-9) into today's semifinals against No. 2 seed Duke.

Malcolm Grant had 19 points and Shane Larkin had 16 for Miami (19-12).

While the Seminoles are hoping to improve their seed in the NCAA tournament, Miami is unsure where it stands with the selection committee and if Scott would be eligible for the tournament.

MILLER (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Florida State fans had a suggestion for Miami, chanting "NIT, NIT" in the final seconds.  Isn’t that sweet?

Florida State is returning to the semifinals after finishing third in the regular season for the third straight year. The Seminoles lost in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament each of the last two years after falling in the 2009 championship game in Atlanta.

Bernard James and Luke Loucks each had 14 points for Florida State.

Miami struggled to score in the first game of the tournament and those struggles continued without Scott. Miami is seeking Scott's reinstatement from the NCAA.

JON KREFT (AP Photo)
Friday it was sophomore Rion Brown who started for Scott and had 13 points.

Miami couldn't get it going in the first half against the Seminoles' man-to-man defense. Miami made only 9 of 32 shots (28.1 percent) in the first 20 minutes. Florida State led 37-26 at halftime after making seven 3-pointers in the half.

Each team relied heavily on 3-pointers, and Miami kept it somewhat close early in the second half with the help of three-pointers by Malcolm Grant, Brown and Larkin.

A three-point play by James gave Florida State a 60-52 lead, but Miami closed the gap to three points on another 3-pointer by Grant, followed by baskets by Brown and Kenny Kadji.

Ian Miller's short jumper ended Miami's run and helped the Seminoles quickly push the lead to 11 points at 70-59.

Game over.

Pictures Of The Game

Michael Snaer #21 of the Florida State Seminoles. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Jon Kreft #50 (L) of the Florida State Seminoles fights for control of the ball against Reggie Johnson #42 of the Miami Hurricanes. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Ian Miller #30 of the Florida State Seminoles attempts to control the ball against the Kenny Kadji #35 of the Miami Hurricanes. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Okaro White #10 of the Florida State Seminoles passes the ball off to teammate Jon Kreft #50 as he drives against Rion Brown #15 and Bernard James #5 of the Florida State Seminoles in their Quarterfinal game. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kenny Kadji #35 of the Miami Hurricanes reacts. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Head coach Leonard Hamilton of the Florida State Seminoles reacts as he coaches against the Miami Hurricanes in their Quarterfinal game of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conferene Tournament at Philips Arena on March 9, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
 A cheerleader for the Florida State Seminoles. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Head coach Jim Larranaga of the Miami Hurricanes. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
DeQuan Jones #5 of the Miami Hurricanes dunks against the Florida State Seminoles in their Quarterfinal game of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conferene Tournament at Philips Arena on March 9, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Rion Brown #15 of the Miami Hurricanes drives against Michael Snaer #21 of the Florida State Seminoles. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Jeff Peterson (L) #12 of the Florida State Seminoles attempts a shot against DeQuan Jones #5 of the Miami Hurricanes as Bernard James #5 of Florida State looks on. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kenny Kadji #35 of the Miami Hurricanes reaches for a loose ball against Xavier Gibson #1 of the Florida State Seminoles as Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Luke Loucks #3 of the Florida State Seminoles reacts. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Deividas Dulkys #4 of the Florida State Seminoles attempts to control the ball against the DeQuan Jones. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Ian Miller #30 of the Florida State Seminoles celebrates with Okaro White #10 and Michael Snaer #21 of the Florida State Seminoles during a second half timeout against the Miami (Fl) Hurricanes in their Quarterfinal game of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conferene Tournament at Philips Arena on March 9, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
DeQuan Jones #5 of the Miami Hurricanes attempts a shot. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Bernard James of FSU. (AP Photo)

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