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'Noles stun Carolina in ACC final

Mar 11, 2012 - 10:33 PM Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Since 1997, the Atlantic Coast Conference's two marquee teams had won 14 of 15 ACC Tournament titles.

No. 17 Florida State knocked off both in one thrilling weekend.

After ending No. 6 Duke's bid for its fourth consecutive championship on Saturday, the Seminoles took home their first ACC tourney trophy with an 85-82 defeat of No. 4 North Carolina in Sunday's final.

Michael Snaer scored 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting to pace third-seeded FSU (24-9). Deividas Dulkys netted 16 while Luke Loucks posted a 10-point, 13-assist double-double for the Seminoles, who defeated both Duke and UNC in the regular season and will be a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

"You got to give our kids a lot of credit," said Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton in a televised courtside interview after the game. "They've showed an awful lot of character. They've maintained the right attitude."

Harrison Barnes had a game-high 23 points and Tyler Zeller poured in 19 while grabbing 12 rebounds for the top-seeded Tar Heels (29-5), who still earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Kendall Marshall contributed 15 points and nine assists in defeat.

Just as they had in Saturday's semifinal against the Blue Devils, FSU sweated out a potentially game-tying final possession by its opponent. Fortunately for the 'Nole faithful, it ended the same way, too.

With just over three ticks on the clock, P.J. Hairston accepted an inbounds pass across his team's bench and, after dribbling to the top of the key, let loose a three-point attempt.

It hit the back of the rim and bounced to the floor as time expired.

"I think it's a great accomplishment just because [the] history [of Duke and UNC] is so rich," said Loucks. "It even goes back a couple of years ago when coach Hamilton brought us in. He said, 'You can really change the culture of Florida State basketball.' We're stepping in the right direction of doing that and making our mark."

Hairston was not North Carolina's first choice for the final attempt. But Marshall, UNC's best three-point shooter averaging a 50 percent clip entering Sunday and the man who got the Heels to within one on a trey with 30.1 seconds remaining, was unable to escape his defender.

After shooting a blistering 62.5 percent (22-of-32) in the first half to take a 49-40 advantage into intermission, Florida State went up by as many as 14 early in the second.

The Tar Heels didn't go away, though, as they slowly chipped away at the lead until Zeller's fastbreak layup made it 75-71 with 6:00 to play.

"We didn't get off to a good start. We didn't play well in the first half, we didn't play well the first part of the second half," North Carolina head coach Roy Williams said. "The last twelve minutes it was the North Carolina team that I have seen recently and it is the North Carolina team that I like and we want to be."

FSU scored the next four, but James Michael McAdoo -- starting in place of injured forward John Henson -- slammed home a dunk, Marshall and Hairston each hit a pair of free throws and Barnes knocked down a jumper to set up Marshall's big trey in the final minute.

But UNC never finished the comeback, and Florida State became the first ACC Tournament champion from neither Durham nor Chapel Hill since Maryland's 2004 title run.

Game Notes

Henson, the ACC defensive player of the year, did not play for the second straight game after injuring his left wrist against Maryland on Friday...Florida State shot 58.9 percent (33-of-56) from the field and 50 percent (11-of-22) on three-point attempts...North Carolina shot 39.4 percent (28-of-71) from the floor, including 35.1 percent (13-of-37) in the second half...Florida State's bench outscored North Carolina's reserves by a 28-14 margin.