ACC men's basketball tournament: Top seed North Carolina scrapes by Virginia Tech for a 79-76 win in quarterfinals

ATLANTA — As he did a year ago, North Carolina senior forward Tyler Hansbrough came up with the critical play in the waning seconds to pull out a 79-76 victory that figures to end Virginia Tech's slim NCAA Tournament hopes.

With the top-ranked Tar Heels (28-3) clinging to a one-point lead with 5.2 seconds left, Hansbrough tied up sophomore forward J.T. Thompson in the lane that gave UNC the ball on an alternate possession. Hokies coach Seth Greenberg angrily erupted, shed his jacket and threw it as he screamed for a foul on Hansbrough.

"What I saw doesn't count, so it makes no difference," Greenberg said later. "The only people that count were the guys wearing striped shirts."

"I saw him coming down the lane. It looked like he just stopped, and I went over to get the ball, plain and simple," Hansbrough said.

He was fouled on the ensuing inbound play and hit both free throws (he was 10-of-10 from the line) with 3.5 seconds left to finish with a game-high 28 points, picking up the slack with point guard Ty Lawson sitting on the bench with an injured right big toe.

He then jumped out to contest senior forward A.D. Vassallo's last-second 3-pointer, trying to give the eighth-seeded Hokies (18-14), who probably needed the win to land an NCAA bid, another shot in overtime.

"I just put my hand up and hoped he would miss," said Hansbrough, who hit a jumper with 0.8 seconds left to beat the Hokies in last year's ACC semifinals.

The top-seeded Tar Heels face fourth-seeded Florida State in a semifinal today.

Maryland 75, No. 8 Wake 64: Freshman guard Sean Mosley scored seven of his 12 in a 14-2 run at the start of the second half to blow open a close game.

The seventh-seeded Terrapins (20-12) reached the semifinals for the first time since 2004, when they won the title as the No. 6 seed. They face third seed Duke in a semifinal today.

"We were a little up and down in '04," coach Gary Williams said. "I think this team has had a gradual improvement over the course of the season coming into the tournament. I think part of the improvement is to lose some tough games. That either makes or breaks you."

His team showed more poise and passion down the stretch than it showed March 3 when the Demon Deacons (24-6) rallied from a double-digit deficit.

This time, the second-seeded Deacons never got closer than eight in the second half. It didn't help that they shot a season-low 29.7 percent from the field.

"You are not going to beat many teams when you shoot 29 percent from the field," coach Dino Gaudio said. "That was our biggest downfall — shooting the basketball tonight."

No. 9 Duke 66, BC 65: Gerald Henderson scored the go-ahead basket with 34.8 seconds left for the third-seeded Blue Devils (26-6), who face seventh-seeded Maryland in a semifinal today. Kyle Singler matched his career high with 26 points, Henderson had 16 and Jon Scheyer had 14 for Duke. Tyrese Rice had 17 points and Biko Paris added 15 for Boston College (22-11).

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

ACC men's basketball tournament: Top seed North Carolina scrapes by Virginia Tech for a 79-76 win in quarterfinals 03/13/09 [Last modified: Saturday, March 14, 2009 12:33am]

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