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Hurricanes pick up pace, close out BC

The SportsXchange

GREENSBORO, N.C. - This was no time for ninth-ranked Miami to break apart.

Finding the right combinations in critical stages, the Hurricanes made just enough plays at both ends of the court in the final minutes in its Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinal, topping Boston College 69-58 at the Greensboro Coliseum behind Shane Larkin's 20 points.

"We have a lot of experience and we stayed together," Larkin said. "We're always positive, trying to encourage each other. We just stuck together as a team. That's the same thing I've seen over the year."

Miami, the top seed in the conference tournament field, struggled for stretches before scoring eight points in a row to break free from a tie.

"It's a terrific win for us," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. "Boston College is a very difficult team for us to match up with. We knew we would be in for a dogfight."

Miami (25-6), which set a school record for number of victories, will meet the winner of Friday's Virginia-North Carolina State game in Saturday afternoon's first semifinal.

The Hurricanes beat Boston College for the sixth consecutive time and for the third time this season. They ended the game on a 14-3 run to separate in a back-and-forth game that was tied at 50.

By then, the Hurricanes knew they were in for a tussle.

"It was definitely frustrating," guard Durand Scott said. "It wasn't going to just come to us."

Patrick Heckmann scored 15 points, while freshman Olivier Hanlan, who scored 41 points in Thursday's tournament opener, and Ryan Anderson added 14 points apiece for eighth-seeded Boston College (16-17).

Kenny Kadji supplied 15 points and Trey McKinney Jones had 12 points for the Hurricanes.

Scott broke a tie with two foul shots with 3:01 left. After both teams had empty possessions, a Boston College turnover gave the Hurricanes another chance. Larkin it a 3-pointer from near the left corner off an inbounds pass, pushing the edge to 60-55.

Rion Brown connected on a jumper in the lane and Miami finally had some more breathing room again.

"It was there for us," Boston College coach Steve Donohue said. "It was basically a three-minute game. Things had to go right."

Two steals late in the game helped bail out Miami.

"The last five minutes we went to a small lineup," Larranaga said, pointing out it was a move based on defense. "(Our guys) take great pride in their defense. They like the challenge.

"We stuck with fundamental defense and we got the steals off the traps. ... That's part of our scramble defense."

Boston College led 42-37 with 14 minutes to play. Miami followed with an 8-0 run, with Scott and Larkin each scoring four points.

"We couldn't stop them in the second half," Donohue said. "I thought, for the most part, they got what they wanted."

Heckmann, who left with an apparent arm injury earlier the second half, tied the game 50-all by making the second and third free-throw attempts of a three-shot opportunity with 5:03 left. Heckmann's 3-pointer tied the game again at 55-55.

"The last three minutes, we just had mental breakdowns," Hanlan said.

Donohue said there were inconsistencies throughout the season for his young team. That was present in the late stages Friday.

"Sometimes you have to go through failures to figure out how to get better," he said.

Hanlan, the ACC Freshman of the Year who excelled in a first-round victory against Georgia Tech when he made his final 12 shots, connected on his only attempt in the first 16 minutes against Miami. He was 3-for-3 by halftime and 5-for-10 in the game.

He made a 3-pointer for a 37-33 lead early in the second half before missing his next attempt, ending a stretch of 16 consecutive made baskets for the guard. Larkin was mostly responsible for keeping Hanlan in check.

"I think Shane did a great job individually and we did a great job helping," Scott said.

Boston College fell behind 13-2 in the opening minutes, similar to a day earlier when it trailed Georgia Tech 15-0. The Eagles stormed back again.

Miami held an 18-6 lead 10 minutes into the game, but the Hurricanes had to deal with foul trouble among their post players. Hanlan's drive into the lane resulted in a basket on only his second attempt, tying the game at 23-23.

The Eagles led 25-23 at halftime on Anderson's basket. Miami missed eight shots in a row from the field during the Eagles' rally late in the first half.

NOTES: Miami has won its first game in the ACC tournament for the fourth consecutive year, but the Hurricanes advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 2010. They've never played in the tournament's title game. ... Miami improved to 1-2 all-time against Boston College in neutral-site games. ... Boston College has erased double-digit deficits four times this month, coming back to take a lead in all those games. The Eagles won the three previous times in those situations. ... Miami's best seed in the ACC tournament prior to this year was No. 5 in 2008. ... Boston College played down the stretch without guard Eddie Odio, who suffered a second-half ankle injury.
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