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March 13, 2010
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -Kyle Singler scored 27 points to help fourth-ranked Duke push ahead in the second half to beat Miami 77-74 in Saturday's Atlantic Coast Conference tournament semifinals.
Jon Scheyer added 16 points, including eight in the go-ahead 15-0 run early in the second half that restored some sense of order in an upset-filled tournament. The top-seeded Blue Devils (28-5) trailed by three at halftime against the league's last-place team before rallying to reach the championship game, where they will defend their title against the winner of the North Carolina State-Georgia Tech semifinal later Saturday.
Freshman Durand Scott had 21 points for the 12th-seeded Hurricanes (20-13), who put up plenty of fight but couldn't follow their upsets of Wake Forest and Virginia Tech with a much bigger one. Miami was in the ACC semifinals for the first time in its history.
Duke, the only one of the top six seeds to reach the semifinals, has won eight of the past 11 tournaments and is chasing a league-record 18th title. While the Blue Devils will be a heavy favorite in Sunday's final, they got a brief scare when the Hurricanes ran off a 17-2 run to erase a 12-point deficit and take a 35-32 lead on Malcolm Grant's long 3-pointer with 5 seconds left before the break.
During that stretch, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was even whistled for his first technical foul of the season after arguing with officials - and soon ripped off his gray suit coat and spent the rest of the game coaching without it.
But Singler scored eight straight points out of the break for Duke, while Scheyer - who had just three points on 1-for-5 shooting to that point - knocked down a 3-pointer from the right corner to start the game-changing 15-0 run that finally gave Duke a 58-42 lead with 11:52 left.
That lead held up, though pesky Miami proved a difficult team to put away. The Hurricanes got within five points five separate times in the last 90 seconds only to see the Blue Devils respond with either a needed basket or clutch free throws.
DeQuan Jones hit a desperation 3-pointer on Miami's last possession to cut the deficit to three with 2.4 seconds left, but the Hurricanes didn't try to foul on the inbounds play and the clock expired.
Singler finished 8-for-15 from the field and hit 5 of 9 3-pointers to go with eight rebounds and six assists, his second straight big tournament performance. He also made all four of his free throws in the final minute.
Nolan Smith, the other member of Duke's high-scoring "Big Three," finished with 12 points, including a jumper with the shot clock winding down to give Duke a 70-63 lead with about a minute left. Duke shot 48 percent but was just 7-for-22 from behind the arc.