Marcus Paige made two free throws with 3.9 seconds left to help No. 19 North Carolina top No. 3 Virginia, 71-67, on Friday night in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament semifinals.
Paige also made a huge shot to beat the clock in the final minute, helping the fifth-seeded Tar Heels (24-10) hold off the tournament’s top seed and reigning champion in a tense finish.
Freshman Justin Jackson scored a season-high 22 points to lead the Tar Heels, who never trailed and led by as many as 13 points before all-ACC guard Malcolm Brogdon single-handedly brought the Cavaliers (29-3) back.
North Carolina will face the Duke-Notre Dame winner in the finals.
Aaron Harrison and Karl-Anthony Towns each scored 13 points and No. 1 Kentucky improved to 32-0 by defeating Florida, 64-49, in the Southeastern Conference quarterfinals. Kentucky made 19 of 23 free throws, Florida only three of five. Jon Horford scored 15 points for the Gators (16-17). The Wildcats will play Auburn (15-19) in the semifinals. KT Harrell scored 15 straight points for the Tigers, including a three-pointer in the final second of regulation to force overtime, and the 13th-seeded Tigers upset No. 4 seed Louisiana State, 73-70.
Wayne Selden Jr. scored 20 points and ninth-ranked Kansas turned up its suffocating defense to beat No. 16 Baylor, 62-52, in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament. Perry Ellis returned from an injury to add 11 points for the top-seeded Jayhawks (26-7), though their leading scorer limped off the floor after getting tangled up late.
Sam Dekker scored 17 points, Frank Kaminsky added 16 points and 12 rebounds and No. 6 Wisconsin defeated Michigan, 71-60, in the Big Ten quarterfinals. Dekker and Kaminsky, the Big Ten player of the year, scored all their team’s points in a decisive 9-2 run that broke a 54-all tie. The top-seeded Badgers (29-3) will play Purdue in the semifinals. Dez Wells scored 22 points, Melo Trimble added 17 and No. 8 Maryland won its first Big Ten tournament game, beating Indiana, 75-69. The Terrapins (27-5) got nine points from Wells in the final nine minutes and made just enough defensive stops down the stretch to put away the Hoosiers (20-13).
Nic Moore scored 20 points to help No. 20 Southern Methodist defeat East Carolina, 74-68, in the American Athletic Conference quarterfinals. Markus Kennedy added 15 points and six rebounds for the top-seeded Mustangs (25-6). They will face Temple in the semifinals.
Tyler Kalinoski beat the clock with a driving layup to cap Davidson’s comeback and give the No. 24 Wildcats a 67-66 victory over La Salle in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals. Top-seeded Davidson (24-6) trailed almost the entire game and was down nine with 4:45 left, but La Salle didn’t score another point. Jack Gibbs led Davidson with 22 points. The Wildcats will play Virginia Commonwealth in the semifinals.