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March 16, 2013

NC State, Miami square off in ACC Tourney semis



Miami has never advanced to the ACC tournament championship while North Carolina State last reached one six years ago and hasn't won this event since 1987.

One of these teams will get a shot at the title, and the Wolfpack will have Lorenzo Brown today as they try to avenge a regular-season loss to the No. 9 Hurricanes.

Miami (25-6) has reached the ACC semifinals for the second time in nine appearances, but it wasn't easy as the top-seeded Hurricanes needed a big second half from Shane Larkin to hold off Boston College 69-58 on Friday.

Larkin scored 15 of his 20 points after halftime as the Hurricanes shot 69.6 percent over the final 20 minutes.

"He's so good at what he does," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. "A lot of times you'll see (Larkin) in the first half try to get the ball to (his teammates), and then the second half starts, he starts to pick his spots to attack and score or find the open man. We absolutely needed that."

Miami's point guard will get his first look at Brown this season. The Wolfpack floor general was out with a sprained ankle when the Hurricanes won 79-78 on Feb. 2 on Reggie Johnson's tip-in with 0.8 seconds left.

"We played them once at home and they beat us so first of all, we remember that," NC State coach Mark Gottfried said. "They have proven that from start to finish that they are the best in the league."

NC State (24-9) was up by 10 midway through the first half last month. C.J. Leslie, who did not start that contest for disciplinary reasons, led the Wolfpack with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

"That was a tough game for us," Leslie said. "We felt like we had that game under control, and it just slipped away at the end."

Brown, who led the ACC in the regular season with 7.0 assists per game, has 18 in two games in this tournament.

"He just affects the game in so many ways," Gottfried said. "And obviously we're a different team when he's healthy."

NC State has been dominant this week, winning 80-63 over Virginia Tech on Wednesday and 75-56 over Virginia on Thursday. Leslie has totaled 32 points and 18 rebounds.

Scott Wood matched a career high with seven 3-pointers against the Cavaliers, also tying a season high with 23 points.

Some tremendous defense figures to be on display with the top three players in steals during the ACC regular season involved. Brown and Larkin each averaged 2.0 while Miami's Durand Scott had 1.6 per game.

Larkin and Scott combined for five steals Friday.

"Right now I know one thing I can definitely do 100 percent of, and that's play defense, and that's what I'm going to put my heart on the line for and help my teammates as much as I can in the defensive end," said Scott, who has been quiet offensively with 15 points on 33.3 percent shooting in the tournament.

Scott scored a team-high 18 points and Larkin added 13 and five steals in the first meeting.




Miami preview

NC State 2011-12 roster

NC State schedule/results

NC State season stats

Miami roster

Miami schedule/results

Miami season stats

Game facts

No. 9 Miami (25-6) vs. NC State (24-9)

Game time: Saturday, March 16, 1 p.m. — Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, N.C.

Television: ESPN/ACC Network

Probable starters

NC State
PG — 2 Lorenzo Brown (6-5, 186, Jr., 12.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 7.2 apg, 2.0 spg)
SG — 15 Scott Wood (6-6, 169, Sr., 12.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.1 apg)
SF — 24 T.J. Warren (6-8, 224, Fr., 12.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 0.8 apg)
PF — 5 C.J. Leslie (6-9, 200, Jr., 15.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.0 spg, 1.2 bpg)
C — 1 Richard Howell (6-8, 257, Sr., 12.8 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.1 spg)

Miami
PG — 0 Shane Larkin (5-11, 176, Soph., 13.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 4.4 apg, 2.0 spg)
SG — 1 Durand Scott (6-5, 203, Sr., 12.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.6 spg)
SF — 4 Trey McKinney Jones (6-5, 220, R-Sr., 9.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.6 apg)
PF — 35 Kenny Kadji (6-11, 242, R-Sr., 13.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 0.9 apg, 1.4 bpg)
C — 45 Julian Gamble (6-10, 250, 6th-Sr., 6.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.7 bpg)

Miami

Location: Coral Gables, Fla.

Nickname: Hurricanes

2011-12 record: 20-13 overall, 9-7 ACC

2012 postseason: Lost 78-60 to Minnesota in the second round of the NIT Tournament

Coach: Jim Larranaga 27th season overall (515-353) and second season at Miami (45-19)

Series: NC State leads 9-5

Last meeting: Miami won 79-78 on Feb. 2, 2013, in Raleigh

Notes

Miami: The Hurricanes have swept through several ACC awards, with coach Jim Larranage receiving all but two votes for league Coach of the Year … Sophomore point guard Shane Larkin is a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award, Naismith Award and John Wooden Award. He earned first-team All-ACC, All-ACC defensive team and was runner-up behind Virginia Tech's Erick Green for overall player of the year in his first full season starting for the Hurricanes. He originally signed with DePaul, but an medical situation caused him to get out of his letter of intent and play for Miami. The son of MLB Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, has scored at least 20 points in six contests, including 20 against Boston College on Friday. He is shooting 40.6 percent on 3-pointers and 73.4 percent on free throws … Senior shooting guard Durand Scott started at point guard for the first 2 seasons of his Hurricanes career before Larkin took it over last year. Scott was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, and he was honorable mention All-ACC. Scott has scored in single digits in five of the last eight games, but did have 17 points apiece at Wake Forest on Feb. 23 and vs. Georgia Tech on March 6 during that stretch. Scott scored a season-high 25 vs. Duke on Jan. 23 … Fifth-year senior wing Trey McKinney Jones transferred to Miami after starting off at Missouri-Kansas City. He is shooting 37.9 percent on 3-pointers and 85.2 from the free-throw line. McKinney Jones has scored in double figures in 10 ACC games (including Friday's ACC Tourney game), and 17 overall. He had 18 points against Michigan State on Nov. 28, and an ACC-high of 15 vs. Florida State on Jan. 27. He has hit at least two three-pointers in 15 contests. McKinney-Jones has scored between 10 and 12 points in five of the last six games … Fifth-year senior power forward Kenny Kadji started off at Florida, but was slowed by a back injury, and transferred to Miami. Kadji was named second-team All-ACC. Kadji has four straight double-doubles for points and rebounds entering today's game. He had a season-high 23 points and 12 rebounds in the win over Clemson on March 9, and followed with 15 points and 11 boards Friday against BC. Kadji's shooting 37.8 percent on 3-pointers, and has hit at least three in five games. He has scored in double figures in all but five games, two of which were in ACC contests … Durham, N.C., native Julian Gamble, a rare sixth-year senior, has 23 starts this season after beating out Reggie Johnson. Gamble had 16 points against both NC State on Feb. 2 and he had 16 points and 13 rebounds at Hawaii on Dec. 23. The physical defender has had at least two blocks in 18 games … Johnson of Winston-Salem, N.C., has had an uneven fifth season at Miami, due to injury. He missed several games with a thumb injury, but returned Jan. 23 against Duke. The 6-10, 292-pounder is averaging 7.5 points and 7.2 rebounds in 22.3 minutes per game, and has nine starts in 22 games played. He has scored in double figures six games, including twice in ACC action. Johnson has four double-doubles for points and rebounds, and a season-high six blocks at UMass on Dec. 1. Johnson averaged 10.0 points and 7.2 rebounds in a suspension-shortened 23-game redshirt junior season … Reserve junior wing Rion Brown played traveling basketball with the Worldwide Renegades, which is the same program that NC State's Richard Howell, Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie played with at various times. Former Wolfpack star J.J. Hickson was also a former Worldwide Renegades standout. The 6-6, 200-pound wing is shooting 25.7 percent from three-point land this season after shooting 39.4 last year. He is averaging 5.9 points per game with a high of 22 against both Boston College on Feb. 5 and at Georgia Tech on Jan. 5. He shot 5 of 7 on 3-pointers against the Eagles and 4 of 6 vs. the Yellow Jackets … Freshman reserve center Tonye Jekiri was originally in the class of 2013, but elected to move to 2012 and signed with Miami over Clemson. The 7-0, 227-pounder has played in 29 of 31 games and is averaging 1.2 points and 1.4 rebounds per game … Junior power forward Erik Swoope is the third post player off the bench. He tallied eight minutes against Boston College on Friday, and has played at least 10 minutes in four games this season … Senior wing Garrius Adams from Apex (N.C.) Middle Creek has missed the season and is redshirting due to a knee injury.


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