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Wolfpack out; Duke fans ready for ACC final

Posted March 13, 2010

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— Georgia Tech ended North Carolina State's surprise run in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament with a 57-54 victory on Saturday in the semifinals.

“We had our chances and couldn't quite pull it out. But we're on our way back," former N.C. State player David Thompson said after the game at Greensboro Coliseum.

The 11th-seeded Wolfpack's hopes of being the lowest-seeded team to reach the final were dashed due to poor late-game execution.

Javier Gonzalez had a chance to atone for a key turnover and intentional foul in the final 2 minutes, but he missed a game-tying 3-pointer in the final seconds.

The win advanced the seventh-seeded Yellow Jackets to Sunday's final against top-seeded and No. 4 Duke. It will be the first time the Yellow Jackets have reached the final since losing to Duke in 2005.

Earlier Sunday, Duke push ahead in the second half to beat Miami 77-74. The Blue Devils trailed by three at halftime against the league's last-place team before rallying to reach the championship game.

“It certainly was more game than we expected," Duke fan Claudia Cox said.

Duke fans said now they're ready to see their team bring home the ACC title Sunday.

“I went and bought a new hat, brand new shirt ... we are ready.  Duke all the way to the championship,” Duke fan Quincy Jones said.

Absent this year at the ACC tournament was North Carolina. Georgia Tech rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to defeat the Tar Heels, 62-58, in opening round action Thursday.

“North Carolina not being here takes away that buzz," college basketball analyst Dick Vitale said. "They were such an incredible, dominate team. But they will be back."

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