Greenboro, N.C. • Durand Scott scored a career-high 32 points to help No. 9 Miami beat North Carolina State 81-71 on Saturday in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament semifinals, earning its first trip to the championship game.
Shane Larkin added 23 for the top-seeded Hurricanes (26-6), who led the entire way and by 19 points late in the first half. Miami shot 46 percent behind Scott, a senior guard who went 12 for 18 from the field and 5 for 8 from 3-point range.
Scott also had a couple of big shots that shut down comeback bids from the fifth-seeded Wolfpack (24-10), who got as close as six after halftime but couldn’t dig out of that big hole.
Miami also controlled the boards to score 18 second-chance points to go with 15 points off turnovers.
The Hurricanes now can turn their attention to adding a tournament title to go with their first regular-season crown in Sunday’s final.
Miami will face the winner of the later semifinal between seventh-seeded Maryland and No. 3 seed North Carolina.
Scott Wood scored 21 points with six 3s to lead N.C. State, which was in the semifinals for the second straight season. But coach Mark Gottfried’s team ran into a No. 1 seed both times that denied the Wolfpack a chance to win the program’s first tournament title since 1987 under Jim Valvano.
Scott scored 19 points in the first half, the last coming when he hit two free throws to give Miami its biggest lead at 39-20. N.C. State closed with a flurry to cut the deficit to 12 at half then got as close as 50-44 on Wood’s 3-pointer with 12 minutes left to re-energize a home-state crowd that had gone silent with Miami’s early dominance.
But Scott answered with a straightaway 3, holding his release long after the ball swished through the net. Then Larkin banked in a pullup shot to push the margin back to double figures.