Great Scott! Hurricanes tear through Wolfpack
N.C State forward C.J. Leslie called it one of those nights.
And it wasn’t good for the Wolfpack.
State got off to a slow start, dropping behind by 11 in the first 12 minutes, while Miami and guard Durand Scott didn’t in their ACC Tournament semifinal Saturday at the Greensboro Coliseum. Scott scored a career-high 32 points, a single-game tournament record for the Hurricanes by 10 points, and his backcourt mate Shane Larkin added 22 as Miami waltzed into the championship game for the first time by downing State, 81-71.
“We just couldn’t get it going,” Leslie said. “(Fatigue) could have been a factor. It could have been a number of things where we had one of those games that we don’t normally have.”
One of those games included the Wolfpack failing to score on three of its first 14 possessions as the Hurricanes built a 16-5 just past the halfway mark of the first half. Scott had 11 points by that point on the way to 19 in the first half as Miami went up, 41-29.
“I picked my opportunities and tried to take advantage of it,” Scott said. “My teammates found me open, and once I hit a couple of baskets, I got confident in myself, especially from the 3-point line, I think I missed my first two but after that I told myself that when I’m open to shoot it.
“That’s what Shane tells me every time, and when I don’t he gets upset. So there were two I shot and made and once they went in, I said I was going to shoot every time.”
Wolfpack guard Scott Wood took the blame for not stopping Scott early.
“I didn’t do a good enough job of pressuring him,” Wood said. “We let him get in his comfort zone, and he had a couple of shots to go down, and he was tough to guard. I needed to do a better job of keeping him out of his comfort zone.”
State made one serious run at the lead, cutting the margin to six on a Wood trey with 12:05 to go. But they also were unable to convert some fastbreak opportunities during the surge after coming up with turnovers or defensive rebounds.
“We had a couple (possessions) where we ran the ball down the floor and mishandled it,” State coach Mark Gottfried said. “We had a couple where we made the wrong decisions. We had some where we took it to the rim and got fouled and didn’t make the foul shots. One thing or another, we couldn’t capitalize like we normally do.”
Scott hit a 3-pointer to turn back the rally, starting an 8-0 run that pushed it out to 58-45.State never got closer than nine.
“They had a lot of fans and the arena was loud,” Larkin said. “We could have broken down but we stayed poised and pulled it out.”
Wood led State with 21 points, with all six of his field goals coming from 3-point range. But few came while guarded by Scott, the conference defensive player of the year. Leslie added 14 and T.J. Warren had 13.