ACC

U-Va. Comes Out Strong, but UNC Is Just Too Good

Jason Cain, Tyler Hansbrough, Laurynas Mikalauskas, J.R. Reynolds
North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough fights off three Viriginia defenders in the Tar Heels' 79-67 win in the ACC quarterfinals. (Toni L. Sandys - TWP)

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By Eric Prisbell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 11, 2006

GREENSBORO, N.C., March 10 -- Playing like a team with wounded pride, Virginia built an early 10-point lead against a North Carolina team that had humiliated the Cavaliers by 45 points just nine days earlier.

But the seventh-seeded Cavaliers could not maintain the pace against one of the nation's hottest teams. Second-seeded North Carolina held off the Cavaliers, 79-67, in Friday's ACC tournament quarterfinals at Greensboro Coliseum.

No. 10 North Carolina (22-6) won its eighth straight game and continued to make a strong case for a high seed in next week's NCAA tournament.

Virginia (15-14) fared better than it did March 1, when the Tar Heels pummeled the Cavaliers, 99-54, and dominated the rebounding battle, 40-20. On Friday, the Cavaliers could not make critical shots or defensive stops late in the second half, when the game's outcome was still in doubt.

"We came out a little bit flat," Wes Miller said, "but you have to give Virginia credit because they came at us tonight."

Virginia had trouble stopping Reyshawn Terry, who scored 24 points. Terry's jumper with two minutes remaining pushed the lead to seven. Terry, one of the few holdovers from last year's national title team, also converted an acrobatic reverse layup to extend the Tar Heels' lead to 53-44 with 12 minutes remaining. The fans, many clad in powder blue, roared.

"[Terry] was big for us in the second half taking the ball to the basket," Tar Heels Coach Roy Williams said.

The Cavaliers had plenty of opportunities in the second half, but failed on several offensive possessions after the deficit had been cut to five points. Trailing 53-48 midway through the second half, Virginia squandered two opportunities, which led to easy baskets by North Carolina.

"Virginia was much more aggressive and intelligent early in the game," Williams said. Sean "Singletary and [J.R.] Reynolds are loads to deal with. We did not do a good job guarding them other than fouling them."

· WAKE FOREST 82, NORTH CAROLINA STATE 71: Eric Williams scored 20 points to lead the Demon Deacons past the No. 25 Wolfpack, giving Wake Forest its second upset of North Carolina State in a week.

Senior Chris Ellis added a career-best 15 points for 12th-seeded Wake Forest (17-15), which reached the semifinals for the first time in three years and will face No. 3 Duke on Saturday.

Gavin Grant scored a career-high 24 for the fourth-seeded Wolfpack (21-9), which is suddenly reeling as it prepares for a fifth straight NCAA tournament.

· DUKE 80, MIAMI 76: J.J. Redick had 25 points and made a clutch jumper in the final minute, Shelden Williams had his sixth straight double-double to lead the No. 3 Blue Devils.

Williams finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds, and DeMarcus Nelson also scored 14 points for the ACC's top-seeded Blue Devils (28-3), who desperately needed a victory after losing their final two games of the regular season.

The game featured 17 ties and 22 lead changes.


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