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Miami opens ACC tournament with win over N.C. State

Miami’s Jack McClinton scores in front of N.C. State’s Gavin Grant. McClinton scored a season-low eight.

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Miami’s Jack McClinton scores in front of N.C. State’s Gavin Grant. McClinton scored a season-low eight.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Fifth-seeded Miami didn't have its normal offensive proficiency Thursday, but the Hurricanes showed they can play at the other end to move closer to an NCAA at-large bid with a 63-50 opening-round victory over North Carolina State.

The Hurricanes (22-9), winners of seven of their last nine, play No. 4 Virginia Tech (18-12), a team they beat 74-71 in Blacksburg last month in their lone meeting. The winner is likely a lock for the NCAA; the loser may have an uneasy weekend.

"We didn't really think about it," Miami coach Frank Haith said of the NCAA Tournament implications of the opener. "We were worried about just winning the basketball game and advance in the (ACC) tournament."

His team did that with star guard Jack McClinton, a first-team All-ACC pick, matching his season low with eight points on 2-of-6 shooting from the field. He had been averaging 17.4 points.

"We need Jack to be efficient offensively for us to be good, but it shows, and hopefully our team understands it, that other guys have to step up and make plays," Haith said.

Sophomore guard James Dews, who had been in a slump the last few games, and junior guard Lance Hurdle did that by scoring 14 and 13, respectively. But this game was all about Miami's defense.

No. 12 seed N.C. State (15-16), loser of its last nine, matched its season low for points (it managed to beat Presbyterian 50-43 on Jan. 5) on a season-low 34 percent shooting from the field. That's with freshman center J.J. Hickson, who violated a team rule and didn't start, scoring 27 on 8-of-14 shooting.

Ga. Tech 94, Virginia 76: Senior swingman Anthony Morrow, a Charlotte native, put on an impressive display in his homecoming by hitting 6-of-9 3-pointers in a rout for the No. 7-seeded Yellow Jackets.

"It feels great," said Morrow, who finished with 18 points to share team high with forward Jeremis Smith. "It's a blessing to be able to play in front of my family and all my friends."

Georgia Tech (15-16) made a season-best 13-of-24 3-pointers. That included four in a decisive four-minute stretch midway through the second half that saw the Yellow Jackets erase a five-point deficit to go up 70-62.

"I hope it's there (tonight)," Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said of his team's 3-point shooting; the Yellow Jackets meet No. 2-seeded Duke.

His team continued to push the pace and wore down the No. 10 Cavaliers (15-15). With less than a minute left, star senior guard Sean Singletary (20 points, 10 assists) took a seat on the Virginia bench to a standing ovation.

BC 71, Maryland 68: Tyrese Rice scored 17 of his 19 in the second half and the Eagles snapped a six-game losing streak in defeating the Terrapins (18-14). Rakim Sanders, with 13 points, was one of four other players in double figures for 11th-seeded Boston College (14-16), which rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit to advance to play third-seeded Clemson today.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Miami opens ACC tournament with win over N.C. State 03/13/08 [Last modified: Friday, March 14, 2008 12:09am]

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