For UNC graduating players, motivation follows loss to Duke in ACC Tournament



Because Virginia has been regarded as the nation's best defensive team all season, Hamilton knew he couldn't go with the status quo heading into the ACC semifinal. However, they won the game in all the key phases. A 70-foot desperation heave by Duke's Danny Ferry at the buzzer bounded off the rim, leaving Smith to say, "An old man would have had a heart attack" had the shot dropped at the Atlanta Omni.

The Cavaliers have only lost three games all season - two of those to Duke - so it stands to reason they still have a chance at earning a No. 1 seed. Smith, still establishing himself as a head coach, used a slowdown to shorten the game and almost pulled off a huge upset.

All of that was never more evident than during Florida State's second-half run when it left the Cavaliers in the rear view. They have a ideal mixture of talent, experience, and great guard play which I think are the 3 things needed to have success in March.

De'Andre Hunter had 13 points for Virginia (29-3), which had its nine-game winning streak snapped and suffered its first loss to a team other than Duke.

12-ranked Seminoles (27-6) back to the championship game of the ACC Tournament for the first time since 2012.

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The Duke Blue Devils edged the Florida State Seminoles on a last-second 3-pointer during the regular season.

Williamson connected on 13-of-19 shots for the game, including 2-of-3 from three-point range and 3-of-3 from the foul line. In the tournament, the Tar Heels got an MVP effort from Dudley Bradley to cut down the nets.

Virginia played far from its best in Friday's ACC tournament loss to Florida State. Duke trailed by 13 points in the second half but rallied behind Jayson Tatum (24 points) and Luke Kennard (20) for a sixth straight win over UNC in the tournament. The Blue Devils weren't much better from long-range, hitting just 25 percent of their attempts. Krzyzewski later said the slap in the face was just what his team needed. His work on both ends of the court made Duke a different team. Duke enters the locker room shooting 48.6 percent compared to 47.1 percent from the Tar Heels. The freshman phenom converted just two of his first five attempts from the field, but picked up the slack late and leads Duke with 16 points and six rebounds at the break.

Same floor, same teams, different result.

And when UNC failed to score for 4:35 of game time in the second half - a crucial stretch where the Blue Devils tallied four points to take the lead - it was Johnson and Maye who finished and-one layups to snatch the momentum back. And to make matters all the sweeter, the Blue Devils clinched the W over their bitter rivals, the North Carolina Tar Heels.

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