ACC ROUNDUP Wolfpack trips No. 3 Deacons
Top 5 teams North Carolina and Duke posted victories.
WASHINGTON -- North Carolina State was told not to seek revenge against Wake Forest.
No one -- particularly the Demon Deacons -- could stop the Wolfpack from winning.
Julius Hodge led a balanced attack with 22 points and Ilian Evtimov added 18 points and seven assists, helping N.C. State upset No. 3 Wake Forest, 81-65, Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Wake Forest point guard Chris Paul was suspended for the game for punching Hodge in the groin during the teams' previous meeting earlier in the week, giving this early-round game the emotion and intensity of a Final Four. The referees seemed to sense that, too, so they made it a point to call touch fouls and to step in whenever there was contact.
"Anger is one letter short of danger," Wolfpack coach Herb Sendek said. "It's important to focus, not get angry. Our guys did a great job of coming together."
In the first half, a technical foul was called on the Demon Deacons bench -- apparently on one of the support staff -- and later Wake Forest guard Justin Gray left for a bit after getting elbowed in the face by N.C. State's Andrew Brackman. Amazingly, Gray was called for a foul.
"We were even warned about it during the game, so I think that opened our eyes a little bit more, saying, 'Hey, we just need to be focused on the game and not get caught up in the physical aspects,' " Wolfpack guard Cameron Bennerman said.
No. 5 Duke 76, Virginia 64
WASHINGTON -- Duke assumed its customary spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament semifinals, breezing past Virginia despite a horrid shooting performance by standout guard J.R. Redick.
Redick, who came in averaging a team-high 22.6 points, missed 11 of his first 12 shots and finished 4-for-17, including 3-for-12 from 3-point range. But Daniel Ewing and Lee Melchionni picked up the slack by scoring 16 points apiece, and Shelden Williams had 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Redick scored 15 points, a number padded by four free throws in the final 2 minutes.
Playing in the tournament semifinals for an eighth straight season, third-seeded Duke (23-5) will face North Carolina State this afternoon. The Wolfpack, who lost to the Blue Devils by 12 points in January, advanced by upsetting third-ranked Wake Forest 81-65.
No. 2 North Carolina 88, Clemson 81
WASHINGTON -- Raymond Felton made the go-ahead 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down in the final 90 seconds, and North Carolina avoided the biggest upset in Atlantic Coast Conference tournament history with a victory over Clemson.
Since the conference expanded to nine teams in 1992 -- it since has gone to 11, and Boston College joins next season -- no ninth-seeded team has beaten the No. 1 seed. The Tar Heels (27-3) clearly were on the ropes, trailing by 13 points with about 9 minutes left before rallying behind Felton, their All-ACC point guard.
He had 24 of his career-high 29 points in the second half and scored the final 10 points for North Carolina.
Georgia Tech 73, Virginia Tech 54
WASHINGTON -- B.J. Elder scored 19 points, Jarrett Jack and Will Bynum had 13 apiece, and Georgia Tech pulled away at the start of the second half to ruin Virginia Tech's Atlantic Coast Conference tournament debut.
Recovering from a slow start, the Yellow Jackets finally displayed the flair and defense that had them ranked in the Top 10 at the start of the season. They held the Hokies to 37 percent shooting, including an 0-for-9 stretch to open the second half that gave Georgia Tech a double-digit lead it never relinquished.
Georgia Tech (18-10), seeded fifth, overcame 22 turnovers to end a streak of 12 games in which they had alternated wins and losses, a show of inconsistency that had placed some doubt as to whether last year's national runner-up would return to the NCAA tournament.