The Associated Press
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Dez Wells slapped the floor — and knocked No. 2 Duke out of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Wells scored a career-high 30 points and Maryland upset the Blue Devils 83-74 on Friday night in the ACC tournament quarterfinals.
Wells was 9 of 13 from the field and 10 of 10 from the free throw line to lead the seventh-seeded Terrapins (22-11).
In delivering the first big shocker of the week in Greensboro, they never trailed, held the league’s best team from 3-point range to 4-of-25 shooting from beyond the arc, and bolstered their NCAA tournament credentials with their second straight win over Duke.
Mason Plumlee had 19 points to lead the second-seeded Blue Devils (27-5), whose quest for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament took a jolt.
They had the ball trailing by six points with about 2 minutes left after Seth Curry hit a rare 3-pointer and the Blue Devils got an even rarer defensive stop.
But Tyler Thornton missed 3-pointers on consecutive trips downcourt and Wells and Seth Allen followed with two free throws apiece, with Allen’s stretching the lead to 77-67 with 1:44 left.
Duke didn’t get closer than five the rest of the way.
Four Maryland players finished with 10 points apiece — Nick Faust, Jake Layman, Nick Allen and Alex Len. The Terrapins outrebounded Duke by 10 and made 23 of 25 free throws.
They also had the most dominant player on the floor in Wells, who surpassed his previous high of 25 points set in December against George Mason.
Miami 69, Boston College 58
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Shane Larkin scored 20 points and No. 9 Miami pulled away to beat Boston College in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Kenny Kadji added 15 points and Trey McKinney Jones finished with 12 for the top-seeded Hurricanes (25-6).
They withstood a serious scare from eighth-seeded BC (16-17), letting an early 13-point lead disappear before making all the plays down the stretch to avoid becoming the ACC’s first No. 1 seed to lose its tournament opener since 1997.
Patrick Heckmann finished with 15 points for the Eagles. His 3-pointer with 3½ minutes left tied it at 55.
Durand Scott put Miami in front to stay with two free throws with 3:01 left, and Larkin took over a few moments later.
Larkin came up with a key steal, then buried a momentum-shifting 3 off an inbounds pass to make it 60-55 with 1:49 left.
Eds: North Carolina State 75, Virginia 56. With AP Photos. Updates with details.
North Carolina State 75, Virginia 56
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Scott Wood had 23 points and seven 3-pointers to help North Carolina State beat Virginia.
C.J. Leslie added 17 points and 11 rebounds with three blocks for the fifth-seeded Wolfpack (24-9), who blew the game open after halftime and led by double digits nearly the entire second half for a second straight quarterfinal win against the fourth-seeded Cavaliers (21-11).
N.C. State also got strong performances from freshman T.J. Warren with 18 points and senior Richard Howell, who battled through a right thigh injury to finish with 12 rebounds.
The Wolfpack avenged a regular-season loss to Virginia that started a three-game skid, which all but took the preseason ACC favorite out of the regular-season title chase. Now N.C. State is back in the semifinals and has a Saturday matchup with No. 9 Miami, the tournament’s top seed.
Akil Mitchell scored 19 to lead Virginia, which hasn’t reached the semifinals since 1995 — the longest drought in the league. First-team all-ACC performer Joe Harris had 13 on 4-for-13 shooting, including 2-for-9 from 3-point range.
BIG TEN Wisconsin 68, Michigan 59
CHICAGO — Ben Brust scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half and No. 22 Wisconsin knocked off sixth-ranked Michigan in the second round of the Big Ten tournament.
Traevon Jackson had 16 points for the Badgers (22-10), who will play top-seeded Indiana in the semifinals on Saturday. Ryan Evans added 12 points, six rebounds and six assist.
Trey Burke had 19 points and seven assists for Michigan (26-7), but the Big Ten player of the year was 8 for 22 from the field. Tim Hardaway Jr. shook off a leg injury in the first half and finished with 14 points and nine boards.
Indiana 80, Illinois 64
CHICAGO — Cody Zeller scored 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead No. 3 Indiana past Illinois in the Big Ten quarterfinals.
The top-seeded Hoosiers (27-5) are off to a good start after claiming their first outright conference title in two decades and earning a first-round bye.
They took control midway through the first half and withstood a mild push in the second, avenging a two-point loss at Illinois (22-12) last month. That set up a matchup with Michigan or Wisconsin in Saturday’s semifinals.
Zeller had another big game after scoring a season-high 25 in a win at Michigan. He was 9 of 11 from the field and hit all six free throws.
Victor Oladipo added 12 points and 11 rebounds and drew the loudest cheers with a 360-degree fastbreak dunk with 90 seconds left. The Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year, he also helped contain Brandon Paul.
Ohio State 71, Nebraska 50
CHICAGO — DeShaun Thomas and Sam Thompson had 19 points apiece, helping No. 10 Ohio State rout Nebraska in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals.
The Buckeyes turned a close game into a runaway with an impressive 30-5 spree spanning halftime that included a little bit of everything. LaQuinton Ross connected on three consecutive 3-pointers, Aaron Craft made a couple of nifty passes and Thompson had two jams to go along with a 3-pointer.
Thomas closed it out with a strong reverse dunk that lifted the Buckeyes to a 54-28 lead with 12:01 left. The junior forward flexed and yelled after the big slam led to a celebration on the Ohio State sideline.
Ross finished with 11 points for the Buckeyes (24-7), who have won six straight games and seven of eight overall.
Brandon Ubel had 16 points and seven rebounds for the Cornhuskers (15-18).
BIG 12 Kansas 88, Iowa State 73
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Perry Ellis scored a career-high 23 points, and seventh-ranked Kansas pulled away in the second half to beat Iowa State and reach the Big 12 tournament title game.
Jeff Withey and Elijah Johnson added 14 points each, and Ben McLemore finished with 10 for the top-seeded Jayhawks (28-5), who advanced to play No. 11 Kansas State or No. 14 Oklahoma State on Saturday night for its sixth Big 12 tournament championship.
Georges Niang scored 19 points and Melvin Ejim had 17 for the fifth-seeded Cyclones (22-11), who were trying to turn the tables after losing to the Jayhawks twice in overtime this season.
Instead, Kansas won for the 16th time in their last 17 meetings.
ATLANTIC 10 Saint Louis 72, Charlotte 55
NEW YORK — Dwayne Evans played through foul trouble to score 25 points on near-perfect shooting, and top-seeded Saint Louis pulled away early to beat Charlotte in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament.
The 16th-ranked Billikens ensured the 49ers would not be making any crazy comebacks this time by forcing 20 turnovers and turning them into 21 points. A day earlier, ninth-seeded Charlotte came from behind to shock Richmond 68-63 by hitting eight free throws in the final five seconds after the Spiders were called for three technical fouls.
Evans made his first seven field goal attempts before finally missing on one of his easiest chances of the day, a putback that bounced off the rim with just over 7½ minutes remaining. He finished 8 for 9 from the floor and 9 for 9 from the foul line and added nine rebounds.
Chris Braswell led the 49ers with 20 points and nine rebounds.
Butler 69, La Salle 58
NEW YORK — Rotnei Clarke led five players in doubles figures with 14 points in Butler’s win over La Salle in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals, and now the Explorers must await their NCAA tournament fate.
Khyle Marshall had 13 points, and Andrew Smith added 11 points and eight rebounds for the fifth-seeded Bulldogs, who face regular-season champ Saint Louis in Saturday’s semifinals.
Clinging to a one-point lead early in the second half, Butler went to work inside. Smith scored in the paint, Marshall had a dunk, and Kameron Woods completed a three-point play after a putback.
The 11-2 run gave the Bulldogs (26-7) a double-digit lead, and they held off fourth-seeded La Salle (21-9) the rest of the way. Tyreek Duren led the Explorers with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting.
VCU 82, Saint Joseph’s 79
NEW YORK — Treveon Graham scored 17 points, and hot-shooting VCU beat Saint Joseph’s in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament Friday night.
The 25th-ranked Rams made 11 3-pointers to build a double-digit lead in the second half before the Hawks’ frantic comeback in the final minutes fell short. Darius Theus had 12 points and six assists, making all five of his field-goal attempts, as five players scored in double figures for second-seeded VCU (25-7).
Tenth-seeded Saint Joseph’s pulled within 80-76 with 9.1 seconds left, but Theus found an open Briante Weber downcourt for an emphatic slam to cap the victory.
Carl Jones scored 29 points and Langston Galloway had 25 for the Hawks (18-13).
SEC Florida 80, LSU 58
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Erik Murphy scored a career-high 27 points and grabbed a career-best 12 rebounds to help the 13th-ranked Florida Gators take the first step toward trying to add a Southeastern Conference tournament title to their regular season championship by beating LSU.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive presented Florida coach Billy Donovan with the regular season trophy before tipoff. Then the Gators (25-6) started working toward their first tournament title since 2007 when they wrapped up a three-peat. They will play either Tennessee or Alabama in the semifinals Saturday.
Scottie Wilbekin added 16 points, matching his career-best with four 3-pointers. Michael Frazier II had 11 and Patric Young 10 for Florida.
Ninth-seeded LSU (19-12) tried to keep up with the rested Gators but looked a step slow with too many shots just short a day after beating Georgia to advance.
Charles Carmouche led the Tigers with 14 points.
Alabama 58, Tennessee 48
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Levi Randolph scored 15 points Friday as No. 4 seed Alabama defeated No. 5 seed Tennessee in a Southeastern Conference tournament quarterfinal between two teams seeking to improve their postseason credentials.
Alabama (21-11) advanced to a today’s semifinal against No. 13 Florida, the tournament’s top seed. Florida (25-6) trounced LSU 80-58 in its quarterfinal.
Trevor Releford scored 14 points for Alabama. Nick Jacobs had six points and a career-high 12 rebounds.
Josh Richardson scored 16 points for Tennessee (20-12), which lost for just the second time in its last 11 games. Jarnell Stokes added 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Tennessee and Alabama both entered this week as NCAA tournament bubble teams.
Alabama used its pressure defense to wear down Tennessee in the second half. The Volunteers shot 32.1 percent (18 of 56) overall, 50 percent (7 of 14) on free throws and 21.7 percent (5 of 23) on 3-pointers.
Vanderbilt 64, Kentucky 48
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Dai-Jon Parker scored 12 points, and the Vanderbilt Commodores beat Kentucky in a rematch of last year’s Southeastern Conference tournament championship and put a serious dent in the Wildcats’ hopes of at least having a chance to defend their national title.
Kentucky (21-11) came in as a bubble team projected possibly as a play-in candidate after coach John Calipari sent six players to the NBA last summer and tried reloading yet again with another top recruiting class. But Nerlens Noel had surgery earlier this week to fix his torn ACL, and the Wildcats couldn’t match the intensity of the Commodores.
Kevin Bright scored 11 points, Kedren Johnson and Kyle Fuller had 10 apiece. Vanderbilt (16-16) shot 50 percent overall, hitting 8 of 17 3-pointers.
Archie Goodwin led Kentucky with 12 points, and Kyle Wiltjer had 10. Ryan Harrow was 2 of 15 for four points.
MAC Akron 62, Kent 59
CLEVELAND — Zeke Marshall scored 18 points with 10 rebounds and seven blocks as Akron kept its NCAA tournament hopes alive by beating rival Kent State 62-59 on Friday night in the semifinals of the Mid-American Conference tourney.
Playing just its second game without suspended point guard Alex Abreu, the Zips (25-6) overcame some atrocious foul shooting to make the final for the seventh straight year. Akron went just 13 of 29 from the line. Abreu was arrested last week on drug trafficking charges.
Randal Holt scored 19 points for Kent State (20-13), which lost to Akron for the third straight year in the tournament.
Golden Flashes forward Chris Evans, who scored 25 in a quarterfinal win over Buffalo, had just 6 points on 1-of-11 shooting before fouling out.
CONFERENCE USA Southern Mississippi 85, UTEP 67
TULSA, Okla. — Dwayne Davis scored 27 points and Jonathan Mills had a double-double to lead Southern Mississippi over UTEP 85-67 Friday in a Conference-USA semifinal match.
Davis was 9 of 13 from the field for the game. Mills had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the No. 2 seed Golden Eagles.
Jerrold Brooks scored 13 points. Neil Watson had eight points, seven assists for Southern Mississippi (25-8).
The Golden Eagles never trailed and led 48-31 at halftime. The Golden Eagles shot 58.5 percent from the field for the game. UTEP shot 46.9 percent. The Golden Eagles had the rebounding advantage 29-27.
C.J. Cooper led UTEP (18-14) with 20 points. Julian Washburn had 13 points, and Jacques Streeter added 10 points. McKenzie Moore and John Bohannon had five rebounds apiece for the No. 3 seed Miners.
Southern Mississippi will play No. 20 Memphis in the championship game Saturday.
Memphis 85, Tulsa 74
TULSA, Okla. — Chris Crawford scored 30 points while connecting on eight 3-pointers to set new career highs in both categories for the second straight game, D.J. Stephens had 10 points and 10 rebounds after attending his grandmother’s funeral earlier in the day and No. 20 Memphis reached the Conference USA championship by beating Tulsa.
Crawford had three 3-pointers from the right wing during a 14-4 run that put the top-seeded Tigers (29-4) in control midway through the second half after Tulsa had erased an 11-point deficit to take the lead just after halftime.
Crawford’s third 3 during the stretch made it 61-46 with 9:57 to play, and he hit two more during a 10-0 burst later on that prevented the fifth-seeded Golden Hurricane (17-15) from making another comeback.
Senior Scottie Haralson led Tulsa with 25 points and 12 rebounds in his final game.