ACC Tournament: Heels march on with devil of a win
NEW YORK (AP) — Luke Maye scored 17 points, including North Carolina’s last field goal with 5:33 remaining, and No. 12 North Carolina held off a late rally by No. 5 Duke to advance to the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship game with a 74-69 victory on Friday night.
The sixth-seeded Tar Heels (25-9) will face top-seeded and top-ranked Virginia on Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn in a rematch of the 2016 ACC championship, won by North Carolina.
North Carolina led by 15 when Maye hit a jumper with 5:33 left and it looked as if it would cruise into the title game. But the Tar Heels went cold and second-seeded Duke went on a 13-0 run, drawing within three on Gray Trent Jr.’s 3 with 50 seconds left.
The Tar Heels turned the ball over on consecutive possessions, but an offensive foul by Grayson Allen and then a missed 3 by Allen, trying to draw contact on Maye, stymied Duke (26-7).
Theo Pinson made two free throws with 3.2 seconds left to seal it and the Tar Heels snapped a six-game losing streak in the ACC Tournament to their most heated Tobacco Road rivals.
North Carolina (25-9) advances to Friday’s 8:30 p.m. championship game against top-seeded Virginia (30-2) … The Cavaliers claimed a 61-49 victory when the teams met at Charlottesville on Jan. 6 during the regular season.