Raising Cane: Miami downs North Carolina for first ever ACC title
Greensboro, NC – Shane Larkin scored 28 points and handed out seven assists to help No. 9 Miami-Florida claim its first ever ACC Tournament title with an 87-77 triumph over North Carolina on Sunday at Greensboro Coliseum.
Trey McKinney Jones buried six 3-pointers en route to 20 points, while Julian Gamble added 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Hurricanes (27-6), who won the ACC regular-season crown with a 15-3 conference mark.
"It was a very important win," Larkin said. "Gave us a lot of momentum going into the NCAA Tournament."
The Hurricanes have won four straight to earn a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where they will take on Pacific on Friday in Austin.
P.J. Hairston matched Larkin with 28 points, while Marcus Paige poured in 17 points and James Michael McAdoo added 12 for the Tar Heels (24-10), who were named the No. 8 seed in the South Region and will take Villanova on Friday in Kansas City.
"My team was aggressive, attentive, and yes we made a couple of mistakes, but that's the game of basketball," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "I feel very lucky to be the coach of my team."
The first half featured six ties and 13 lead changes, the final one coming with 3:26 left when Durand Scott's layup sparked an 8-0 surge that Rion Brown capped with a 3-pointer to give Miami a 42-35 cushion.
Paige and Hairston countered with consecutive triples to bring the Tar Heels within one before Larkin capped his 15-point first half with a floater in the lane to send Miami into the break holding a 44-41 advantage.
The margin was five, 49-44, early in the second before Hairston knocked down back-to-back triples around a Gamble dunk to bring the Heels within one.
After Larkin laced a pair of free throws, Paige drained a trey and McAdoo followed with a dunk to give UNC a 55-53 edge just over five minutes in.
North Carolina's lead was five, 63-58, after consecutive layups from McAdoo, but Brown answered with a triple at the other end and after Hairston knocked down two free throws, Larkin knocked down a trey to bring Miami within one.
After Hairston and Gamble exchanged buckets, McKinney Jones nailed a 3-pointer to put the Hurricanes in front for good.
Three straight points from Gamble pushed the margin to five, but after Dexter Strickland and Brown each buried two at the charity stripe, Paige knocked down a midrange jumper to bring the Tar Heels within 74-71.
McKinney Jones provided the final dagger exactly two minutes later, as he followed a Larkin layup with a triple from the left corner to give Miami a 79-71 cushion with 1:38 remaining.
The Hurricanes were able to seal the victory at the line, as Miami made all eight of its free-throw attempts over the final minute to hold off the Heels.
Larkin was named tourney MVP ... Miami took all three meetings against North Carolina this season ... The Hurricanes shot 50.8 percent (30-for-59) from the field, including a 12-of-22 mark from long range ... North Carolina shot 45.0 percent overall and finished 13-of-29 from distance ... Reggie Bullock finished with 11 points and seven boards for the Tar Heels.