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'Canes finally clinch ACC

Miami’s Justin Heller cuts down the net after his team finally wraps up its first outright ACC regular-season title.

Associated Press

Miami’s Justin Heller cuts down the net after his team finally wraps up its first outright ACC regular-season title.

CORAL GABLES — Miami coach Jim Larranaga mounted the ladder last and went to the basket hard, scissors in hand. The net came off with one final snip. He twirled it over his head, then draped it around his neck.

Championship jewelry.

Down to their third and last chance, Larranaga's Hurricanes came through Saturday. Kenny Kadji scored a season-high 23 to help sixth-ranked Miami win the ACC regular-season championship outright by beating Clemson 62-49.

Then came the cutting of the net, a new ritual for UM.

"It's a piece of memorabilia you'll keep with you for a lifetime," said Larranaga, who is in his second year with the Hurricanes. "It's something the players feel is very, very special, because you don't get to do it all the time. Some programs do it almost annually, but we haven't done that here. And when you do anything for the first time, it's very, very exciting."

Miami (24-6, 15-3 ACC) clinched its first outright title after being foiled by consecutive losses to Duke and Georgia Tech. The Hurricanes tied the school record for victories set in 2001-02, when they went 24-8, and improved to 14-1 at home in their regular-season finale.

The league championship is the second for the Hurricanes, who shared the Big East title in 2000. Now comes the ACC tournament in Greensboro, N.C., where they'll be the top seed.

"That's not the last net I plan on cutting down," Trey McKinney Jones said. "The sky's the limit for us. If we play together, we have so many weapons."

Clemson has lost six straight and nine of 10.

After struggling on defense recently, the Hurricanes clamped down, limiting Clemson to one basket during a pivotal 9½-minute stretch to start the second half.

Hoyas go out in style

WASHINGTON — Georgetown coach John Thompson III was noting all the ways — and there were many — in which his team's lopsided, Big East-closing victory over Syracuse was significant, when a familiar baritone voice rose from the back of the interview room.

"Kiss Syracuse goodbye!" interrupted Thompson's father.

John Thompson Jr. coached Georgetown to a regular-season title in 1979-80, Year 1 of the Big East, and his son took the Hoyas to the final regular-season title before the conference undergoes massive changes, emphatically ending the rivalry against Syracuse with a 61-39 win.

On an afternoon that Otto Porter didn't make a field goal until the second half, No. 5 Georgetown held No. 17 Syracuse to its fewest points in 558 Big East games. "It's special because the Big East, as we have known it, is ending," Thompson III said. "Georgetown won the first one, and now Georgetown's won the last. So that means a lot."

NO. 3 DUKE 69, UNC 53: Seth Curry hit his first seven shots for the visiting Blue Devils (27-4, 14-4 ACC), who opened with a 14-0 run and finished a season sweep of the Tar Heels.

BAYLOR 81, NO. 4 KANSAS 58: Pierre Jackson had 28 points and 10 assists for the host Bears, who handed the Jayhawks (26-5, 14-4 Big 12) their worst loss in seven years.

NO. 8 L'VILLE 73, NO. 24 NOTRE DAME 57: Gorgui Dieng had 20 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks to help the host Cardinals (26-5, 14-4 Big East) avenge last month's five-overtime loss to the Irish (23-8, 11-7) and earn a share of the league title.

NO. 13 OKLA. ST. 76, NO. 9 KANSAS ST. 70: Le'Bryan Nash scored 24 and Marcus Smart 21 for the host Cowboys (23-7, 13-5 Big 12), who held the Wildcats (25-6, 14-4) scoreless for four minutes late and hurt their chances to win the league championship.

AIR FORCE 89, NO. 12 NEW MEXICO 88: Todd Fletcher hit a 3 with 3.5 seconds left for the host Falcons, who snapped an eight-game winning streak for the Lobos (26-5, 13-3 Mountain West) with their first win over a top 15 team.

NO. 15 MARQUETTE 69, ST. JOHN'S 67: Vander Blue's driving shot fell through the rim as the buzzer sounded, giving the visiting Golden Eagles (23-7, 14-4 Big East) a share of the league regular season championship, their first title since joining the conference in 2005-06.

NO. 16 ST. LOUIS 78, LA SALLE 54: Dwayne Evans had 16 points and 17 rebounds for the host Billikens (24-6, 13-3 Atlantic 10), who hit 17 of 20 shots in the second half and clinched at least a share of the league title.

NO. 18 ARIZONA 73, ASU 58: Nick Johnson scored 17, Solomon Hill added 12 in his final home game and the Wildcats (24-6, 12-6 Pac-12) earned a first-round bye in next week's league tournament.

UTAH 72, NO. 19 OREGON 62: Jason Washburn had 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Jarred DuBois added 15 points and several key baskets down the stretch as the host Utes upset the Ducks (23-8, 12-6 Pac-12).

NO. 20 PITT 81, DEPAUL 66: J.J. Moore scored 21 off the bench for the visiting Panthers (24-7, 12-6 Big East), who shot a school-record 72 percent in their last regular-season game in the league before moving to the ACC.

NO. 23 UCLA 61, WASH. 54: Shabazz Muhammad scored 21, Larry Drew hit the clinching basket with 32.6 seconds left and the visiting Bruins (23-8, 13-5 Pac-12) rallied from a four-point deficit with five minutes left to clinch at least a share of the league regular-season title.

NO. 25 MEMPHIS 86, UAB 71: Joe Jackson had 17 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds to help the host Tigers (27-4, 16-0 C-USA) win their third straight and 21st in their past 22.

SO. MISS 70, UCF 62: The visiting Knights (20-11, 9-7 C-USA), ineligible for the postseason because of NCAA sanctions, lost their season finale.

Sunshine state TOURNEY: Top-seeded Saint Leo (21-7) shot 33 percent from the floor in a 62-53 loss to fifth-seeded Rollins in the semifinals in Kissimmee. … Kevin Capers hit three free throws in the final 38 seconds of regulation for second-seeded Florida Southern, who never trailed in overtime and beat No. 3 Eckerd (20-7) 85-80.

Atlantic sun: Brett Comer had 21 points and Florida Gulf Coast (24-10) claimed its first NCAA Tournament berth, knocking off top-seeded Mercer 88-75 in the Atlantic Sun championship game. The second-seeded Eagles snapped the Bears' 17-game home winning streak.

Ohio valley: Kerron Johnson hit a 10-foot pull-up jumper with 1.2 seconds left, and Belmont (26-6) capped its first season in the Ohio Valley Conference by beating Murray State 70-68 in overtime in Nashville.

.NCAA Tournament

Automatic berths

Atlantic SunFla. Gulf Coast

Ohio ValleyBelmont

'Canes finally clinch ACC 03/09/13 [Last modified: Saturday, March 9, 2013 11:14pm]
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