Down goes Duke; Wolfpack, Tar Heels remain alive

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The Wolfpack need Scott Wood to deliver jump shots
Perhaps suffering from a letdown after last weekend’s deconstruction of North Carolina, Duke performed sluggishly on Friday night at the ACC Tournament and fell to Maryland 83-74 for the second time this season.

Seeded No. 2 entering the weekend, the Devils shot just 4-for-25 on threes, forcing too many contested shots and failing to establish inside-outside balance. Maryland also pummeled them on the glass and enjoyed a lead ranging from 7-10 points for most of the second half.

The big question pertains to NCAA Tournament seeding. Duke had expected to claim a No. 1 seed, and while that remains a possibility other conference frontrunners could leapfrog them and push the Devils to a No. 2.

Meanwhile, No. 3 seed UNC and No. 5 seed N.C. State both advanced to today’s semifinal round.

The Tar Heels dispatched Florida State by a surprising 83-62 margin. Reversing their atrocious shooting performance versus the Blue Devils, the Heels knocked down 10-for-22 on threes. They also limited themselves to seven turnovers and forced the Seminoles into 18 miscues.

But Carolina didn’t escape Friday without drama. Sharpshooter P.J. Hairston cut the skin between two fingers on his left (non-shooting) hand, an injury that spilled blood copiously onto the Greensboro Coliseum court and resulted in eight stitches. His status remained uncertain heading into the semifinal.

Earlier on Friday, Mark Gottfried’s Wolfpack thrashed Virginia 75-56. State’s place in the NCAA Tournament was secure prior to the weekend, but defeating the No. 4 seed in such resounding fashion likely won the squad a better spot when the selection committee announces the seeds on Sunday evening.

State torched UVA from deep, burying 8-for-16 on threes. The Pack also demonstrated a greater commitment to defense than they have for much of the season, stifling the Cavaliers to 38 percent shooting.

The Wolfpack play Miami this afternoon in one semifinal, while UNC will battle Maryland.

Box scores: Duke/Maryland; UNC/Florida State; and NCSU/Virginia.

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