WASHINGTON - Julius Hodge led a balanced attack with 22 points and Ilian Evtimov added 18 points and seven assists, helping the Wolfpack upset the third-ranked Demon Deacons 81-65 yesterday in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Wake Forest point guard Chris Paul was suspended for the game for punching Hodge in the groin during the teams' previous meeting earlier in the week, giving this early-round game the emotion and intensity of a Final Four.
The Wolfpack (19-12) shot 51 percent and consistently beat defenders to the rim on backdoor cuts.
No. 2 North Carolina 88, Clemson 81
WASHINGTON - Raymond Felton made the go-ahead 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down in the final 90 seconds, and North Carolina avoided the biggest upset in Atlantic Coast Conference tournament history.
Since the conference expanded to nine teams in 1992 - it since has gone to 11, and Boston College joins next season - no ninth-seeded team has beaten the No. 1 seed. The Tar Heels (27-3) clearly were on the ropes, trailing by 13 points with about nine minutes left.
Felton had 24 of his career-high 29 points in the second half and scored the final 10 points for North Carolina.
No. 4 Kentucky 76, Tennessee 62
ATLANTA - Kelenna Azubuike scored 18 points, Patrick Sparks added 16 for Kentucky in an SEC tournament quarterfinal.
Kentucky (24-4) had a double-digit lead on Tennessee (14-17) before the game was six minutes old.
C.J. Watson scored 26 points to lead Tennessee.
No. 6 Louisville 74, UAB 67
MEMPHIS - Francisco Garcia broke a tie with a 3-pointer with 3:36 left, and No. 6 Louisville (28-4) held off Alabama-Birmingham in the semifinals of the Conference USA tournament for its eighth straight victory.
Taquan Dean led Louisville with 11 rebounds and 15 points, 13 of which came in the second half after he started 1-of-7 in the first half.
Demario Eddins and Donell Taylor led UAB (21-10) with 13 points each.
No. 9 Kansas 80,
Kansas StATE 67
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Wayne Simien had 28 points and 14 rebounds and Kansas (23-5) stretched its winning streak over Kansas State to 31 in a row.
Lance Harris had a career-high 23 points for Kansas State (17-12).
No. 5 Duke 76, Virginia 64
WASHINGTON - Duke assumed its customary spot in the ACC tournament semifinals, breezing past Virginia despite a horrid shooting performance by standout guard J.J. Redick.
Redick, who came in averaging a team-high 22.6 points, missed 11 of his first 12 shots and finished 4-for-17, including 3-for-12 from 3-point range. But Daniel Ewing and Lee Melchionni picked up the slack by scoring 16 points apiece.
No. 8 Arizona 90,
Oregon State 59
LOS ANGELES - Channing Frye led five teammates in double figures with 17 points and Arizona used a 12-0 run at the start of the second half to put away Oregon State in the Pac-10 semifinals.
No. 10 Oklahoma StATE 87, Colorado 85
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Joey Graham scored 24 points, including two clutch free throws with 7.8 seconds left. John Lucas had 18 points and Ivan McFarlin added 16 points and 15 rebounds for the third-seeded Cowboys (22-6).
No. 16 Syracuse 67,
No. 12 Connecticut 63
NEW YORK - Hakim Warrick had 26 points and 10 rebounds and Syracuse (26-6) held on to beat Connecticut in the Big East semifinals.
Charlie Villanueva had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Huskies (22-7).
No. 17 Oklahoma 83, Missouri 79
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Terrell Everett had 18 points and made a key play in the final seconds to lead Oklahoma (24-6) in the second round of the Big 12 tournament.
Missouri's Linas Kleiza had a career-high 33 points, including 17 of 19 free throws.
West Virginia 78,
No. 19 Villanova 76
NEW YORK - Mike Gansey made two free throws with 0.2 seconds to play to send West Virginia into its first Big East tournament championship game.
Gansey, who finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds, was fouled as he put up his second rebound of a missed 3-pointer, a 72 percent free throw shooter this season, made both to keep the tournament run alive for West Virginia (21-9), the first No. 8 seed to reach the title game.
No. 15 Utah 73, UNLV 67
DENVER - Andrew Bogut had 25 points and 12 rebounds, and Utah (27-4) nearly blew a 22-point lead before holding on in the Mountain West semifinals.
No. 20 Alabama 69,
ATLANTA - Earnest Shelton scored 26 points, most of them on a career-high eight 3-pointers, and Alabama cruised into the semifinals of the SEC tournament.