GREENSBORO, NC (AP) — Freshman Harrison Barnes had a season-high 40 points as No. 6 North Carolina escaped again at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, rallying past Clemson 92-87 in overtime in Saturday’s semifinals.
Barnes hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 4:13 left as part of a 9-0 spurt to open the extra period, which helped the top-seeded Tar Heels (26-6) complete their second straight comeback from a big deficit. A day after rallying from 19 down in the second half to beat Miami, the Tar Heels trailed the Tigers (21-11) by 14 in the first half and rallied from seven down in the final 4 minutes of regulation to force overtime.
Barnes capped the run with a three-point play, then added his sixth 3-pointer to beat the shot clock with 1:14 left. He finished with the most points by any player in the ACC tournament in 16 years and the most by a UNC player in more than four decades.
In the other semifinal, Nolan Smith scored 27 points and No. 5 Duke claimed a spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game by beating Virginia Tech 77-63 Saturday.
Kyle Singler added 13 points and 11 rebounds and Seth Curry had 10 points for the second-seeded Blue Devils (29-4).
The two-time defending league tournament champions and reigning national champs shot 47 percent and kept the Hokies at arm’s length throughout the second half to avenge a late-season loss and set up a third meeting with bitter rival North Carolina in the title game Sunday.
Malcolm Delaney, who’s second to Smith in the ACC scoring race, finished with 19 points on 4-of-14 shooting for the sixth-seeded Hokies (21-11). They were just 2 of 12 from 3-point range and couldn’t get closer than 10 in the final 14 minutes.