Nolan Smith scored 20 points and had 10 assists as No. 2 seed Duke cruised past No. 1 seed North Carolina, 75-58, in the championship game of the 2011 ACC Tournament at Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.
Smith, who was named player of the tournament, made 6-of-18 field goals (33%) and was a perfect 7-for-7 from the charity stripe. Duke (30-4) captured its 19 conference championship with the win, which leads the conference.
The Blue Devils never trailed in the title game, jumping out to an 8-0 lead early in the game before taking a 42-28 lead into halftime. Duke outscored UNC, 33-30, in the final twenty minutes to claim victory.
Kyle Singler and Seth Curry both scored 11 points for Duke, which shot 50% from the field and 45% from three-point range. Miles Plumlee, Andre Dawkins and Ryan Kelly all scored nine points a piece for the Blue Devils.
Harrison Barnes, who scored a career-high 40 points in North Carolina's overtime win over Clemson in the quarterfinals, was held to 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting. Tyler Zeller had 14 points and four rebounds and John Henson had a massive game, scoring 10 points while racking up a game-high 18 rebounds for the Tar Heels (26-7). UNC made 21-of-62 field goals (33.9%) and 2-of-8 threes (25%) in the loss.
Duke, the fifth ranked team in the country, clinched the ACC's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning the conference tournament. UNC, which is ranked seventh in the nation, will most likely be clinching a tournament berth as well on Sunday evening when the NCAA Tournament bids are announced.
2011 ACC Tournament Results
Thursday, March 10 - First Round
#9 Miami defeats #8 Virginia, 69-62 (OT)
#5 Boston College defeats #12 Wake Forest, 81-67
#7 Maryland defeats #10 N.C. State, 75-67
#6 Virginia Tech defeats #11 Georgia Tech, 59-43
Friday, March 11 - Quarterfinals
#1 North Carolina defeats #9 Miami, 61-59
#4 Clemson defeats # 5 Boston College, 70-47
#2 Duke defeats #7 Maryland, 87-71
#6 Virginia Tech defeats #3 Florida State, 52-51
Sunday, March 13 - Championship
#2 Duke defeats #1 North Carolina, 75-58