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ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE MEN'S TOURNAMENT

Tar Heels rout Boston College

March 11, 2007|From the Associated Press

North Carolina moved a step closer to its first Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title in nine years with a 71-56 victory over Boston College on Saturday at Tampa, Fla.

The eighth-ranked Tar Heels, seeded No. 1 after sharing the ACC's best regular-season record with Virginia, will play 10th-seeded North Carolina State in today's championship game.

Brandon Wright scored 20 points, making 10 of 12 shots -- most of them dunks -- and North Carolina (27-6) weathered a Boston College spurt that trimmed a 20-point deficit to nine before the Tar Heels pulled away again.

Tyler Hansbrough, who played for the second straight game with a mask to protect a broken nose, had 13 rebounds for the Tar Heels.

Sean Marshall led Boston College with 23 points. ACC Player of the Year Jared Dudley finished with 20. The fourth-seeded Eagles (20-11) trailed, 48-28, before Marshall scored eight points during a 13-2 run that reduced the Eagles' deficit to 50-41.

Reyshawn Terry made a long three-pointer and Wright followed with a dunk as North Carolina regained control. The Tar Heels rebuilt the advantage to 18, and Boston College never got closer than 13 the rest of the way.

North Carolina is back in the championship game for the first time since 2001. The Tar Heels haven't won the ACC tournament since 1998, and their current streak of eight consecutive years without a title is their longest since 1958 to 1966 -- the year before former Tar Heels coach Dean Smith won his first conference tournament.

North Carolina State 72, Virginia Tech 64 -- The 10th-seeded Wolfpack (18-14) won it at the free-throw line, making 24 of 28. The third-seeded Hokies (21-11) made only eight of 19.

Virginia Tech used a 10-4 run to tie the score at 35-35 early in the second half. But Gavin Grant took over. The 6-foot-7 forward, who led the Wolfpack with 20 points, touched the ball nearly every time down the floor, drove inside and drew fouls. He was 11 for 11 from the free-throw line.

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